TOKYO -- China's steel product export volume jumped 20% to 112.4 million tons last year, topping 100 million tons for the first time, according to trade statistics announced Wednesday by China's General Administration of Customs.
The figures mean China's export volume last year exceeded the total output of crude steel by Japan, the world's second-largest producer.
China's steel product exports have increased for six straight years. The surge in 2015 was caused by steelmakers looking for markets overseas due to surplus production and softer domestic demand accompanying a slowdown in the Chinese economy.
Export volume in December 2015 alone was 10.66 million tons, surpassing 10 million tons for the first time in three months.
In contrast, Japan's crude steel production for the year ending in March is expected to dip 4% from the prior fiscal year to around 105 million tons due to a poor export environment.
China's massive exports have caused steel prices to fall throughout Asia. The Chinese export price for bellwether hot-rolled coil is around $270 a ton, 40% cheaper than a year ago.