tonnes of steel. In the first nine months, China imported 15.07 million tonnes of steel, up 72.2 percent year on year. China's steel market saw high post COVID19 demand due to the stable operation of infrastructure construction, real estate and other downstream sectors. On the other hand, in the first nine months, China exported 40.39 million tonnes of steel, down by 19.6 percent year on year
China became a net steel importer in June 2020 for the first time since the last global recession in 2009 as demand overshot supply in the rapidly recovering economy after COVID19 stimuli. China had imported 4.4 million tonnes of finished and semi-finished steel products last month and exported a total of 3.7 million tonnes in June 2020, while it produced 91.58 million tonnes of crude steel. The surge in steel imports was expected as China was the first country to emerge from the Covid-19 lockdowns. China’s economy grew by 3.2 per cent in the second quarter, a dramatic turnaround from a 6.8 per cent contraction in quarter one. In China, the demand for steel comes not only from the infrastructure and property sectors but also from shipbuilding, car and home appliance manufacturing, all of which have rebounded. The last time there was a similar surge in steel demand was during the global financial crisis in 2008-09, when China became a net importer to support its 4 trillion yuan infrastructure stimulus programme, which saw the construction of new highways, bridges, bullet trains and factories.
In 2005, China’s steel exports and imports were virtually in balance. Since then, with the exception of 2009, China’s exports have increased dramatically, growing 169.7 percent between 2009 and 2019. During the same period, China’s imports have trended downwards, and decreased by 30.9 percent. China had imported 15.3 million tonnes of steel in 2019, 30.9% decline in steel imports since 2009.