China June aluminium, steel exports rise as trade row intensifies
* Aluminium exports at 510,000t, highest since Dec 2014
* Rusal sanctions drawing Chinese metal into Europe -
* Steel exports at 6.94 million t, most since July 2017
(Updates throughout; adds graphic)
By Tom Daly and Muyu Xu
BEIJING, July 13 (Reuters) - China's aluminium exports
exceeded half a million tonnes for only the second time ever in
June while steel exports hit an 11-month high, as strong
international prices and a weak yuan meant shipments continued
to defy U.S. tariffs.
China is the world's top producer of steel and aluminium,
which have been subject to 25 percent and 10 percent import
tariffs, respectively, in the United States, since March 23.
Its ability to keep exports of both metals buoyant even amid
these tariffs is likely to frustrate Washington, which imposed
the duties to protect U.S. industries and has called on China to
rein in excess capacity.
Separate customs data on Friday showed China's trade surplus
with the United States swelled to a record in June as exports
accelerated, potentially further inflaming a bitter trade row
between the world's top two economies.
China's unwrought aluminium and aluminium product exports
were 510,000 tonnes last month, worth 9.41 billion yuan ($1.41
billion), customs said..
That was up 10.9 percent from 460,000 tonnes a year ago and
topped a revised 480,000 tonnes in May, previously the
second-highest figure ever behind only the 542,700 tonnes
exported in December 2014.
July exports will remain high because of the weak currency
and quiet domestic market, said Paul Adkins, managing director
of consultancy AZ China.
UBS analyst Lachlan Shaw said anecdotal evidence suggests
U.S. companies are still buying aluminium from China - even with
the tariffs - because U.S. smelters have not ramped up output.
He noted aluminium prices in the United States and Europe
were strong, whereas they had weakened in China.
"The arbitrage is open, there is metal available. All the
factors are in place for that export trade to continue and
obviously it has done," he said.
U.S. sanctions on Russian aluminium producer Rusal have
"impacted metal availability" in Europe, "so that's certainly
going to be drawing a bit of demand out of China," Shaw added.
Meanwhile, China's steel product exports for
June climbed 1.9 percent year on year to 6.94 million tonnes,
their highest since July 2017. They also nudged up from 6.88
million tonnes in May amid higher output in the second quarter
and stronger global prices.
Richard Lu, an analyst at CRU in Beijing, noted that the
direct trade volume for Chinese steel exports to the United
States was "very small," so the March tariffs had only a
On July 10, however, a range of steel and aluminium products
were targeted in another list of tariffs that the United States
has threatened to slap on $200 billion worth of goods from
China, which has vowed to respond.
($1 = 6.6687 Chinese yuan renminbi)
(Reporting by Tom Daly and Muyu Xu; editing by Richard Pullin)
First Published: 2018-07-13 05:59:31
Updated 2018-07-13 08:18:07
© 2018 Thomson Reuters. All rights reserved. Reuters content is the intellectual property of Thomson Reuters or its third party content providers. Any copying, republication or redistribution of Reuters content, including by framing or similar means, is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of Thomson Reuters. Thomson Reuters shall not be liable for any errors or delays in content, or for any actions taken in reliance thereon. "Reuters" and the Reuters Logo are trademarks of Thomson Reuters and its affiliated companies.