HIGHLIGHTS: Steel Success conference, lower prices in Asia, elections in Turkey…

Latin America editor Ana Paula Camargo looks at the main news covered by Steel First over the past week.

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Steel First’s editor Vera Blei attended sister publication AMM’s Steel Success Strategies XXX conference in New York this week, with much of the discussion focused on China, the steel versus aluminium auto fight and the potential investments planned by North America’s steel firms.

There was concern over the threat of China’s output glut to the US steel industry, the likely trade petitions against imports of hot rolled coil (HRC) and cold rolled coil (CRC) and the potential use of steel futures as an option to anti-dumping cases.

At the event, Cliffs Natural Resources said it aims to construct a direct reduced iron (DRI) plant to meet growing demand in the USA], while Nucor expressed its intention to build a heavy plate mill and to go ahead with a downstream expansion.

Peter Marcus, managing partner at World Steel Dynamics, spoke of the battle between steel and aluminium in the automotive sector, pointing out that steel is more than holding its own in the fight for the auto tonnes.

Asia saw two steel prices reach a new historic low level this week.

Import prices for hot rolled coil (HRC) for re-rolling in Vietnam came to $362-375 per tonne cfr on Monday June 8, down by as much as $8 per tonne, as Chinese trading companies reduced their offer prices to secure purchase orders.

In China, meanwhile, Steel First assessed spot rebar prices at 2,120-2,140 yuan ($345-348) per tonne in Beijing on June 10 – the lowest level since March 2013 when Steel First started its assessments.

On the same day, Metal Bulletin’s daily iron ore index for 62% Fe material reached $65.39 per tonne cfr Qingdao – its highest level since January – before ending the week at $65.13 per tonne cfr on June 12.

This week saw the introduction of the monthly Steel First relativities table for premium hard coking coal and hard coking coal indices and proposed changes to the publishing schedule for our Poland domestic rebar price assessment.

We welcome your feedback on these pricing topics.

Turkey’s parliamentary election on June 7 failed to bring clarity to the local steel sector, and affected the mill participation in the global scrap market.

Meanwhile, Steel First discussed if the steel industry should join the energy sector to create a global carbon-pricing scheme, following the histroric decision by G7 leaders to phase out fossil fuel emissions this century.

In an effort to fight unfair trade, Mexico imposed a provisional anti-dumping duty on HRC imports from China, France and Germany.

And Malaysia reinstated a 5% customs duty on rebar and wire rod imports.

Finally, Steel First published the 2015 Top Steelmakers list, in which Asia supplied 18 of the world’s top 25 mills.

The prospects for Latin America’s largest steel market continued to look bleak.

Ukraine-based Ferrexpo sold its stake in the Brazilian miner Ferrous Resources to US billionaire investor Carl Icahn, after recording a $82 million impairment on its investment due to tumbling iron ore prices.

The country’s automobile association, Anfavea, has once again slashed its forecast for Brazil’s car industry in 2015 because of a gloomy economy and weaker-than-expected consumer confidence.

The Brazilian government, meanwhile, announced a 198.3 billion Reais ($63.2 billion) infrastructure programme to boost the economy.