HIGHLIGHTS: Iron ore, scrap, steel prices take a collective tumble...

Editor Vera Blei looks at the main news covered by Steel First over the past week.

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Benchmark iron ore prices saw their biggest daily drop in more than 13 months this week.

After hovering around $60 per tonne cfr China for more than two weeks, the slump came on Thursday July 2 when Metal Bulletin’s 62% Fe iron ore index lost $3.57 to fall to $55.63 per tonne. It fell further on Friday to finish the week at $55.26 per tonne cfr Qingdao.

Chinese steelmakers could not stop the continuing slide in steel prices on the back of sluggish downstream demand this week, with hot rolled coil (HRC) dropping by 140-150 yuan ($23-24) per tonne in Shanghai and by 100-110 yuan ($16-18) per tonne in Beijing.

Rebar prices tumbled by 110-120 yuan ($18-20) in Shanghai and 60-70 yuan ($10-11) per tonne in Beijing.

Generic steel margins for Chinese steelmakers fell further in June, with drops in steel prices outpacing lower raw materials costs. They are now at their lowest since the global financial crisis.

The latest issue of China Insight shows that while the property market in China appears to have stabilised, volatile conditions in the equity markets are adding to the unease about the economic outlook and could feed back into reduced consumer and investor confidence.

Scrap prices tumble
Import prices for scrap in Turkey continued to fall this week, by around $25 per tonne, as a number of steel producers managed to secure deep-sea cargoes at lower prices.

In Taiwan, import prices for containerised heavy melt scrap (HMS) dropped by $10-15 per tonne this week as local mills continued to push offer levels down in a depressed global market.

In a two-part interview, veteran scrap trader Nathan Fruchter shared some insights gained over 30 years in the global ferrous scrap market.

Trade policy
The steady flow of trade cases continues and updates on new, progressed and closed trade actions from around the world are listed in the latest trade case monitor.

After the July 1 update, Malaysia imposed a definitive safeguarding duty on imports of hot rolled steel plate for a period of three years starting on Thursday July 2.

Australia has initiated an investigation into alleged dumping of Chinese rebar into the country.

And the Mexican government has added another five years to the duration of a countervailing duty on imports of cold rolled coil (CRC) from Russia and Kazakhstan.

Around the world

While iron ore, scrap and steel prices continued their tumble, our Man of Steel column predicts that the market will see a turnaround by the end of October.

In the weekly Steel First Outlook series, our colleagues from Metal Bulletin Research (MBR) expect prices for drawn tubing products in North America and Europe to hold up for the rest of the year.

Material substitution is not only a topic in the automotive sector.

Wider, lighter sheet piles will offer a “better than concrete” solution for foundations and other engineering projects, Augustine Kochuparampil, ceo ArcelorMittal Europe – Long Products, told Steel First in an interview.

Pricing notices

Following market consultation, we have decided to make a change to the specification of the weekly Southeast Asia import billet assessment.

We published a table with the latest monthly relativities for Steel First’s premium hard coking coal and hard coking coal indices.

And finally, we are proposing a change to the specification of the weekly ferrous Rotterdam export HMS 1&2 (70:30) fob assessment.

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