STEEL WEEK IN BRIEF: Falling raw materials prices, EU safeguard probe, China’s Cisa conference...

Metal Bulletin reviews the major stories that have affected the steel market over the past week.

Iron ore prices recovered to $65 per tonne cfr China on Thursday March 29, despite limited physical trading in China, after reaching $63 per tonne on Wednesday.

Fortescue Metals Group (FMG) has revised its guidance for the prices it expects to realize for iron ore sold in the year ending June 30, amid subdued Chinese demand and trade tensions.

Seaborne coking coal prices remained under pressure on Thursday, with China’s domestic market for the steelmaking raw material also losing steam.

In the scrap market, import prices have declined both in Taiwan and in India.

Metal Bulletin’s daily iron ore and coking coal indices will not be published on Friday March 30 on account of it being a public holiday in Singapore.

Please read this article for Metal Bulletin’s ferrous pricing schedule for Easter 2018.

Export prices for Chinese cold-rolled coil (CRC) and hot-dipped galvanized coil (HDG) decreased over the past week amid scant buying interest and bearish sentiment coupled with cheaper hot-rolled coil (HRC).

Fears of a trade war between the US and China, coupled with weaker pre-holiday demand, led to a weakening in prices for billet in Southeast Asia, though those for slab appeared to have been insulated from these factors by thin trading.

Buying activity in the CIS export billet market was close to zero
due to the mismatch between offers and bids.

Russian steelmakers have increased their prices for April-rolled rebar sold to the domestic market.

The biggest steel producer in the United Arab Emirates, Emirates Steel, increased its rebar price to 2,412 dirhams ($657) per tonne ex-works for April production.

Turkish rebar and wire rod export prices have fallen, in line with sluggish demand in the market.

European mills are expected to use the region’s newly launched safeguard case into steel imports to increase their prices for HRC.

European alloy surcharges for April deliveries of grade-304 cold-rolled (CR) stainless steel sheet have risen amid further increases in nickel costs, making it the third consecutive month with a rise in the surcharge.

Brazilian steelmaker CSN is planning an increase of 7.50% in its flat steel prices to distributors and industrial clients in June.

Trade policy
South Korea has negotiated an exemption from the US’ Section 232 steel tariff and instead will be subject to a quota, effective on May 1.

CSN, meanwhile, is negotiating with authorities in the US to be granted quotas to export slab, tinplate and “some volumes” of HRC without the tariffs linked to the Section 232 investigation.

Canada is cracking down further on unfairly traded steel and aluminum, following the imposition of the Section 232 tariffs in the US.

The European Commission (EC) launched a safeguard investigation into 26 steel product types in an attempt to prevent the redirection of steel in the global export markets from the US to the EU market. And European steel association Eurofer has called for a quick decision in the case.

Measures taken in conjunction with the safeguard case against a number of imported steel products in the EU will have a negative effect on Europe’s independent distributors, sources have told Metal Bulletin.

Brazil has launched an anti-dumping investigation into imports of steel rolling-mill rollers from China.

Saudi Arabia’s National Committee for Steel Industry (NCSI) has called for urgent action to be taken against imports being dumped into the country, specifically by raising import duties.

Around the world
Metal Bulletin’s team has extensively reported from the China Iron & Steel Association’s 16th International Steel Market and Trade Conference in Xi’an.

West China’s Shaanxi Iron & Steel Group intends to enlarge its international presence as part of the Chinese “one belt, one road” initiative, with two steelmaking projects in Indonesia.

The Hebei Iron & Steel Group (HBIS), China’s second-largest steelmaker, is looking to enlarge its global presence in line amid a national push to invest overseas and to foster international cooperation.

And the Japanese government is calling on the US to exempt high-quality Japanese steel from its Section 232 import tariffs.

Meanwhile, Rio Tinto has entered into a binding agreement with a consortium comprising private equity manager EMR and PT Adaro Energy, an Indonesian listed coal company, for the sale of its 80% interest in the Kestrel underground coal mine in Queensland, Australia, for $2.25 billion.

Anglo American resumed iron ore output at its Brazilian Minas-Rio operation on Tuesday, after approval was granted by the country’s environmental institute.

Global crude steel production rose by 3.5% year-on-year in February, to 131.79 million tonnes, thanks partly to a sizable increase in China, according to the World Steel Association (Worldsteel).

And finally, Worldsteel data showed that worldwide output of direct-reduced iron (DRI) increased by 7.70% over the same period, to 6.09 million tonnes, driven by higher production in Iran.

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