STEEL WEEK IN BRIEF: Iron ore prices below $60/t, scrap prices up, trade case monitor…

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

Iron ore prices remained at $60 per tonne cfr China on Friday November 3, amid limited trading activity due to a correction in China’s futures market, and after falling to $58.52 per tonne cfr on Tuesday.

The seaborne coking coal spot market was mostly stable this week with many participants continuing to wait at the sidelines.

Metal Bulletin’s coking coal indices were all unchanged on Friday, at $182.52 per tonne cfr China and $178.08 per tonne fob Australia for premium hard coking coal, and $161.09 per tonne cfr China and $150.58 per tonne fob Australia for hard coking coal.

Higher Turkish ferrous scrap import prices boosted prices in the US, Taiwan and India this week generating a sense of bullishness among global sellers who feel there is more upside to Turkish prices.

Also, the UK inter-merchant price range for austenitic alloy steel scrap rose by £30 per tonne ($39.50) this week as the nickel price jumped.

China’s domestic hot-rolled coil (HRC) prices lost their upward momentum on Friday, and ended the day flat due to inactivity, while China’s domestic rebar prices also lost their way ahead of the weekend amid a softening of the billet and futures markets.

East China’s Shagang is rolling over the list prices for its long steel products for early November.

Import prices for rebar in Singapore have edged up slightly over the past week in the absence of cheap Turkey-origin spot cargoes.

CIS rebar and wire rod export prices fell in the week ending October 31, due to modest demand in the region’s major target markets and a decline in domestic long steel prices in Russia.

Steel traders in Russia have insisted on lower prices for October-rolled rebar due to poor demand in the secondary market.

Most flat steel prices in Turkey fell this week, on poor demand, because buyers were waiting to see if prices had hit bottom, while the domestic long steel market continued to be influenced by the weakening of the local currency, with prices for rebar going up in Turkish lira while the US dollar equivalent remained largely stable.

Finished long steel prices in Europe are expected to remain largely stable in November, although end-user demand is likely to weaken over the course of the month.

Domestic prices for hot dipped galvanized coil (HDG) in Southern Europe have moved down over the past week due to poor demand.

stainless steel base price increase in Europe of €20-50 ($23-58) per tonne is “achievable” in the fourth quarter of 2017, according to Spanish stainless producer Acerinox.

And Brazilian steel producer CSN is seeking an increase of 30% in annual pricing contracts with automakers.

Trade policy
Metal Bulletin published its monthly trade case monitor with October updates.

Also this week, the US Commerce Department has again delayed preliminary rulings in circumvention cases targeting cold-rolled and coated flat-rolled steel from Vietnam, while Peru launched an anti-dumping investigation into imports of rebar from Brazil and Mexico.

Around the world
Allegheny Technologies (ATI) and an affiliate of Tsingshan Group have formed a 50-50 joint venture to manufacture and sell 60-inch-wide stainless steel sheet in North America.

US president Donald Trump’s administration should keep working on its Section 232 investigation into steel imports instead of tinkering with the North American Free Trade Agreement (Nafta), US Steel president and ceo David Burritt said.

HRC prices in the US climbed for the third week in a row as steel mills pushed for higher prices.

Ternium has appointed Máximo Vedoya as its next chief executive officer. He will be taking over from March 1, 2018.

UK long steel maker British Steel has acquired Dutch wire rod producer FNSteel.

Steelmaking company Max Aicher Group has acquired a mothballed graphite electrode production facility at Griesheim, in western Germany.

Tata Steel is to strengthen its focus on further expanding the steel market in India as well as improving its own steel portfolio strategy in Europe.

Russian steelmaker Severstal expects its export volumes to Europe to return to the 1 million-tpy level seen before the European Commission (EC) launched its anti-dumping investigation into imports of HRC from four countries including Russia.

Japan’s Kobe Steel has idled a blast furnace at its Kobe Works and shifted some production to its Kakogawa Works to improve production efficiency.

And the infrastructure demands of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games are expected to continue to support Japan’s domestic steel market, key producer JFE Holdings said.

And finally, the November edition of China Steel Market Insight looks at the macro-economic situation in China, the surprisingly buoyant finished steel market – and the launch of Metal Bulletin’s daily fob China indices for HRC and rebar – and how the country’s environmental measures are finally starting to have an impact on confidence.