Iron ore prices retreated on Friday, to around $78 per tonne, following weakness in China’s steel market, and after the potential for supply disruptions as a result of a cyclone in Australia reduced significantly.
Seaborne coking coal prices were firm at the end of the week, with fob Australia offers for premium hard coking coal cargoes still above $255 per tonne.
China’s coke export offer prices have come down in line with domestic prices, with only a limited downside expected.
Scrap prices in the major markets, except the United States, continued to strengthen amid a low supply of material.
Turkish steel mills resumed their deep-sea scrap bookings at the beginning of the week and booked three deep-sea cargoes from the Baltic Sea region.
Export prices for China’s cold-rolled coil (CRC) narrowed slightly, while those for hot-dipped galvanized coil (HDG) declined in a soft domestic market.
Baosteel is keeping list prices for its flat steel products unchanged for the next two months, while Shagang has made more sharp reductions to its long steel prices for mid-January following a continual decline in the spot market in the earlier part of this month.
Import prices for rebar in Singapore increased after end users returned to the spot market after the year-end holiday season.
Turkish long steel producer Kardemir opened its domestic long steel sales book on Thursday and closed it again just two hours later.
Domestic prices for rebar in Southern Europe have narrowed upwards on higher scrap costs and the return of market participants from seasonal holidays.
European mills are expected to increase their domestic CRC offer prices, with support from the lack of competitive import offers.
European firms are also expected to increase their domestic offer prices for hot-rolled coil (HRC) by €20-40 per tonne.
Brazilian steel mill CSN increased its flat steel prices to the local distribution chain by 12%.
Export prices for Brazil-origin steel slab increased on higher raw materials costs and limited supplies from other regions.
US steelmakers Nucor and Gerdau Long Steel North America have raised prices by $45 per ton ($2.25 per hundredweight) for most wide-flange and H-pile products.
Plate prices have risen in the US, but market sources are unsure where base prices stand after a fourth round of increases that could send pricing to a more than three-year high.
SSAB, ArcelorMittal, Evraz and Nucor have all increased plate prices in the US market.
The US announced hefty anti-dumping duties on imports of wire rod from South Africa and Ukraine, with final duties for the former set as high as 142.26%.
The country has also updated the dumping margins it applies to imports of welded line pipe from South Korea, as well as declaring that imports of cold-drawn mechanical tubing from China and India cause material injury to domestic US producers.
Canada's has decided that Imports of line pipe from South Korea have caused injury to its domestic producers, paving the way for the introduction of anti-dumping duties.
Gulf Co-operation Council (GCC) states have announced preliminary anti-dumping duties at rates ranging from 30.50% to 103% on imports of seamless pipe products from China.
The Turkish Steel Exporters Assn (ÇIB) has said that the removal of import duty on rebar, will be a significant blow for the domestic Turkish steel industry.
Meanwhile, the Turkish Steel Producers Association (TÇÜD) is worried that the country’s imports of rebar and HRC will increase because of cuts to import duties.
The Turkish ministry of economy has imposed import duties on some HR steel plate, CRC and tinplate products with effect from January 1, 2018.
Around the world
The upcoming Lunar New Year holidays in China are expected to dampen demand for steel in Asia, although the extent to which it does so continues to depend on the ongoing winter production cuts in China that are scheduled to last until mid-March this year.
China has restarted its steel exports, driving out global competitors from various Asian import markets while domestic prices dip.
Germany based steel distributor Klöeckner & Co is looking for a potential buyer for its Brazilian arm, several sources have told Metal Bulletin.
Turkey’s largest steel pipe producer, Borusan Mannesmann Boru (BMB), plans to increase its production capacity with $75 million in new investments.
Turkey’s Tosyali Holding plans to invest in a new steel mill with capacity for 2.50 million tonnes per year in Iskenderun, southern Turkey.
Dutch wire products supplier Van Merksteijn is to build a mesh-quality wire rod mill with capacity for 800,000 tonnes per year at the seaport of Eemshaven in the north of the Netherlands.
The steel industries in Europe and Turkey will continue to grapple with elevated costs for graphite electrodes in 2018 despite prices falling back again in recent months.
And finally, Russia's Mechel has appointed Nelli Galeeva as its new chief financial officer (CFO).
Metal Bulletin reviews the major stories that have affected the steel market over the past week.