STEEL WEEK IN BRIEF: China back to the market, effects of EU duties on HRC, scrap prices up in Turkey...

Metal Bulletin reviews the major stories affecting the steel market over the past week.

Both iron ore and coking coal markets became active this week after the end of the week-long National Day holiday in China.

Gains in the ferrous futures market in China helped to pull prices in the seaborne iron ore market upwards on Friday October 13, with Metal Bulletin’s 62% Fe Iron Ore Index reaching $62.53 per tonne cfr Qingdao.

Market participants are still expecting some downside for seaborne coking coal prices, although the pace of decline appears to be gradual based on recent transactions.

Metal Bulletin’s fob Australia Premium Hard Coking Coal Index fell $1.35 per tonne to $182.66 per tonne while the fob Australia hard coking coal index was unchanged at $152.47 per tonne.

Turkish import scrap prices regained some of their losses early in the week, before trading came to a halt due to rising political tensions between the USA and Turkey. Trading only resumed on Friday October 13.

Indian scrap imports mirrored Turkey’s upward price trend but Taiwanese import prices were negatively affected by volatility in the Chinese market, resulting in limited trading after buyers returned from a week-long holiday.

Domestic prices for ferrous scrap in Italy dropped by €15-20 per tonne this month following negative trends in the international market in September and early October.

Eastern China’s Baosteel is keeping the list prices for its flat steel products unchanged for next month.

China’s hot rolled coil (HRC) prices jumped on Friday October 13 as the paper market surged for a second consecutive day.

Export prices for Chinese HRC remain weak after China’s Golden Week, with domestic demand yet to show any signs of picking up.

HRC exports of Turkey were slow this week as buyers would not accept the prices being offered.

Latin American export prices for HRC were stable this week due to a lack of trading activity, following the imposition of anti-dumping measures by the European Commission (EC) against imports from Brazil.

Russian domestic prices for hot rolled (HR) and cold rolled (CR) sheet steel have been pulled back because buyers would not accept new, higher offers.

Domestic prices for heavy steel plate in Northern Europe have moved down over the past week due to limited demand.

On the long steel front, rebar producers in the UAE have lowered their prices in line with global trends.

In the USA, meanwhile, AK Steel is adding an electrode surcharge for all stainless products.

Trade policy
The fixed duty per tonne to be applied on imports of HRC into Europe from four specified countries will support an increase in domestic EU prices.

The Brazilian steel industry was disappointed by the imposition last week of anti-dumping measures by the European Commission (EC) against imports of HRC from Brazil, national steel industry Aço Brasil said.

Severstal could be set to increase the volumes of HRC it exports to Europe, meanwhile, after the EC imposed a fixed charge of €17.60 per tonne on the Russian steelmaker’s coil.

And Metinvest, Ukraine’s largest steelmaker, is “highly likely” to continue supplying HRC to the EU despite the recent introduction of fixed import charges.

European steel traders are concerned that an anti-dumping investigation into imports of HRC from India could be opened by the EC.

Argentina has decided to continue with an anti-dumping probe into imports of welded and seamless pipes from China, without imposing provisional duties, according to national foreign trade commission CNCE.

Around the world
The Tangshan government has started the process of shutting steel mills which are have not switched their production feedstock from coal to gas from this week, provincial authorities said in a public notice on October 11.

Commercial Metals Co (CMC) could buy as many as five rebar mills from Gerdau Long Steel North America in a deal that could close in the coming weeks or months, according to market sources.

The US steel industry remains confident that it will continue to benefit from the North American Free Trade Agreement (Nafta), despite president Donald Trump blasting the pact as the “worst trade deal ever made”.

Saudi Arabia’s Global Pipe Co (GPC) is to invest 100 million riyals ($26.64 million) in doubling the production capacity at its Jubail plant on the Persian Gulf.

Ukraine’s Metinvest is considering increasing slab exports in 2018, with Europe the favoured destination, ceo Yuriy Ryzhenkov told Metal Bulletin this week.

The Abinsk Electric Steel Works, a unit of a Russian steelmaker Novorosmetall, has increased its billet capacity by 300,000 tpy to 1.50 million tpy with the modernisation of its mini mill, according to technology provider Primetals.

And Pakistan-based cold rolled coil (CRC) producer Aisha Steel has ordered a new rolling mill intended to increase its capacity to 700,000 tpy, to meet local demand.

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