HIGHLIGHTS: Seaisi conf, Trade Case Monitor launch…

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

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We reported extensively from the 2015 South East Asian Iron & Steel Institute (Seaisi) conference in Manila, in the Philippines, this week.

Much of the discussion focused on the pressure from cheap imports and updates on anti-dumping investigations, but we also picked up on company news.

Indonesia’s Gunung Steel Group has been holding back the commercial start-up of its new 1.2 million-tpy electric arc furnace (EAF) and slab caster because of low slab prices in Asia.

Australia’s Arrium Mining & Materials continues to look at possible divestments from its steel business as it seeks to reduce debt and concentrate on core operations.

Union Galvasteel Corp (UGC), one of the major pre-painted steel sector participants in the Philippines, expects to increase its sales volumes by 15% this year amid growing demand from the construction industry.

Vietnam-based Formosa Ha Tinh Steel Corp will commission its rolling operations by the end of 2015, according to two company officials.

Demand for steel in Thailand is growing, but domestic producers are failing to benefit from the rise in consumption due to high levels of imports, according to the Iron & Steel Institute of Thailand (ISIT).

And finally, annual steel consumption in the Assn of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) region is projected to grow by 8% this year and maintain a steady growth of around 4-5% thereafter, and will reach more than 80 million tonnes by 2018.

Around the world

Based on the growing number of trade investigations, we have introduced a series of regional Trade Case Monitors for Europe; CIS, Turkey, Mena; Asia, Australia; and the Americas.

We welcome your feedback on this initiative.

Our colleagues from Metal Bulletin Research (MBR) examined why demand in the Middle East for oil country tubular goods (OCTG) keeps rising in the middle of a dramatic global downturn.

In China, steel mills are set to face stricter environmental laws following an amendment of emissions and energy consumption standards that is set to take effect in the second half of 2015.

Brazilian flat steel producer Usiminas is considering introducing short-time working at its operations due to the crisis in the steel market, the company said at the end of the week.

In Europe, the region’s steel association, Eurofer, used its ‘Steel Day’ to call for quicker implementation of trade measures to keep the steel industry competitive.

Meanwhile, in India, traders were up in arms about the Indian steel ministry’s “draconian” quality control order.

And, in an exclusive interview with Steel First, the ceo of Algeria’s newest entrant to the steelmaking arena – food processing company Cevital – outlined his plans for the for Lucchini steelworks in the Italian port of Piombino.