STEEL WEEK IN BRIEF: Iron ore, scrap prices down, potential European dumping case into Russian rebar, company investments...
Metal Bulletin reviews the major stories that have affected the steel market over the past week.
Iron ore prices ended the week on a downtrend, following China’s declining steel and futures markets.
Cleveland-Cliffs has a plan to cease iron ore mining operations in Australia as early as this year because the venture is losing money, company executives said.
The seaborne coking coal spot market, meanwhile, was on a relatively stable note on Friday January 26, although offers continued to outstrip demand.
Teck Resources expects a coking coal production loss of 200,000 tonnes as a result of interruptions to operations at its Elkview mine in Canada.
China’s coke export prices have continued to weaken over the past fortnight, but the divergence between offers widened amid limited trading activity.
Both buyers and producers were in wait-and-see mode in the export market for CIS-origin pig iron, due to uncertainty about further price changes.
Turkish steel mills have gone through this week with only one booking being made for deep-sea scrap, but they still expect to book further cargoes for February delivery.
Import prices for containerized heavy melting scrap (HMS) in Taiwan dropped further, due to a sharp increase in the number of cargoes being offered on the spot market.
East China’s Shagang lowered its long steel prices for a third time this month amid a weakening domestic market.
China’s hot-rolled coil (HRC) prices were largely unchanged in both the domestic and export segments, with market participants taking a wait-and-see approach.
Import prices for steel billet and slab in Southeast Asia held steady, with billet end-users and non-Chinese mills being slow to react to lower offers from China, while the rainy season damped demand for slab.
Movements in the pricing of steel and steel commodities in 2018 will not be sharp, according to Gökhan Demiruz, chairman of Turkey’s Flat Steel Importers, Exporters & Industrialists Association (Yisad).
Turkish billet prices have weakened in line with the falling cost of scrap imported into the country.
The Dubai-based subsidiary of Qatar Steel set a price of 2,340 dirhams ($637) per tonne ex-works for rebar on January 24, up from 2,025 dirhams per tonne ex-works.
Prices for CIS-origin HRC and cold-rolled coil (CRC) remain high, with producers almost sold out of February-rolled material.
Reduced steel production and delayed deliveries from Italian steelmaker Ilva will support the rise of Southern European domestic prices for HRC.
Domestic prices for steel wire rod narrowed upward by €20 ($25) per tonne in Southern Europe this week as mills in the region raised their offer prices.
Brazilian flat steel producers have all applied price adjustments on material supplied to distributors this month, according to the country’s flat steel association, Inda.
Prices for flat-rolled steel imported into the United States continue to climb along with US domestic prices, thanks to firm global demand, market participants said. But while some thought that prices would remain on an upward trajectory, others were concerned that prices - already at their highest point in six years for some products - may be nearing a peak.
Eurofer, the European steel association, is preparing to file a complaint with the European Commission (EC) regarding the alleged dumping of rebar originating from Russia, according to sources.
Meanwhile, the international trade committee of the European Parliament has now endorsed the political agreement on the modernization of the EU’s trade defense instruments, the EC said.
The decision by the Brazilian government to suspend anti-dumping duties against HRC imports from China and Russia was motivated not only by fears that the measure would injure consuming sectors, but also by concerns that it would affect cooperation between the countries.
Around the world
Peruvian steel producer Aceros Arequipa will invest $180 million to construct a new electric-arc furnace (EAF) at its Pisco works to reduce its dependence on imports of billet.
In Europe, German steel producer Salzgitter will upgrade its platemaking facilities to anneal and further process 200,000 tonnes per year of heavy plates by 2020, while Finnish stainless tube maker Stalatube will invest €20 million ($24.86 million) in expanding its capacity in Finland and opening a new service center in Poland].
Lithuanian long steel company B Group will open a new rebar service center in Finland later this month as part of its plan to buy in and process larger volumes of bar products.
The future of three significant steelmaking installations belonging to Germany’s ThyssenKrupp will be examined at the end of 2020.
Indian steel producer JSW Steel has added two reheating furnaces as part of its expansion plans at its Dolvi steel works in Maharashtra state.
US spot-market steel sheet supplies may tighten in the aftermath of a fire at AK Steel’s Middletown Works that started when molten metal spilled at the mill’s basic oxygen furnace.
Worldwide crude steel production increased by 5.51% year-on-year in 2017, to 1.67 billion tonnes, the World Steel Association (Worldsteel) said.