STEEL WEEK IN BRIEF: Raw materials’ prices on the rise, Vale Day, MEIS 2017...

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

Iron ore prices have experienced their ups and downs, but ended the week rising by $3.65 per tonne on Friday due to an uptick in futures, reaching $69.35 per tonne cfr Qingdao for 62% Fe material.

The seaborne coking coal market quietened down on Friday, following a flurry of trades at higher prices earlier in the week, with Metal Bulletin’s cfr China Premium Hard Coking Coal Index unchanged on Friday at $209.43 per tonne.

And Japanese buyers of coking coal are expected to pay more than an additional 10% for their October-December volumes in comparison with the preceding quarter, amid a surge in spot prices last month.

The costlier seaborne coking coal, as well as surges in the domestic market, have led China’s coke export prices to bounce back in the past fortnight.

Meanwhile, global ferrous scrap prices continued to rise.

UK light iron scrap market prices have climbed by another £5 ($7) per tonne, rounding off a four-week run of steady gains against equally steady increases in export prices, particularly to Turkey. Meanwhile, import prices for containerized heavy melting scrap (HMS) in Taiwan have risen for a seventh consecutive week with supply continuing to tighten.

Metal Bulletin’s fob China HRC Index came to $572.23 per tonne on Friday, up by $6.81 per tonne on a daily basis. On Wednesday, the index reached its highest level since its launch on October 16, at $572.50 per tonne.

Metal Bulletin’s newly launched weekly price assessment for Turkish HDG exports was $740-750 per tonne fob on Friday.

It was launched because the country’s HDG exports have been increasing this year as a result of the anti-dumping measures taken by the European Commission against China-origin HDG.

Turkish long steel mill Kardemir raised its domestic steel product prices across the range.

The markets for hot-rolled (HR) and cold-rolled (CR) steel sheet in Russia have moved down again due to low demand in key steel-consuming sectors.

UK long steel producer British Steel has announced price increases of £50 ($67) per tonne on both sections and wire rod for all deliveries from January 2018.

Domestic prices for HRC in the EU are likely to remain largely unchanged until late in the first quarter of next year.

US steelmaker Nucor has followed the lead shown by Commercial Metals Co (CMC) and raised its rebar prices by $25 per ton ($1.25 per hundredweight).

Several US heavy plate producers, including Evraz, have increased local prices by $50 per tonne this week.

Import prices for re-rolling-grade HRC into Vietnam were narrower in the week ending Monday, on deals done for India-origin cargoes.

Steel traders in Asia are trying to work out an arbitrage for at least 70,000 tonnes of billet to China in a highly unusual move.

Trade policy
The United States applied triple-digit rates of duty to Vietnamese flat steel products, with this move being considered a “game-changer” for the domestic industry.

The US is also conducting an administrative review of anti-dumping duties on stainless steel bar from Spain.

Canada will review import duties, export prices and so-called “normal” values on rebar originating from nine countries as part of a regular annual duty review. It also affirmed anti-dumping margins of as much as 88.10% into certain carbon and alloy steel line pipe from South Korea.

Egypt has announced that a definitive anti-dumping duty on imports of rebar from China, Turkey and Ukraine took effect on Wednesday.

The Commission, Parliament and Council of the EU have reached agreement on the reform of Trade Defence Instruments (TDIs), the European Commission (EC) said.

Around the world
Brazilian miner Vale held its annual investor days in New York and London this week, when it unveiled its capex and debt targets, as well as its production plans for both iron ore and pellet.

During the events, the company also commented on both iron ore prices and pellet prices.

South32 expects to produce 4.5 million tonnes of saleable coal at its Illawarra Metallurgical Coal Complex in New South Wales, Australia, during its 2018 financial year, a 36.6% year-on-year drop.

Chinese output cuts will boost the global long steel market in the first quarter of 2018, the International Rebar Exporters & Producers Assn (Irepas) said.

US-based steelmaker Nucor has completed repairs and resumed production at its direct-reduced iron (DRI) plant in the state of Louisiana.

ArcelorMittal restarted operations at blast furnace (BF) No2 at its steelmaking plant in Bremen, Germany, on December 2 after two months of modernization work.

Metal Bulletin reported extensively from its 21st Middle East Iron & Steel Conference (MEIS) in Dubai this week.

Saudi Arabian flat steel re-roller and coater Unicoil expects the ministerial committee of the Gulf Co-operation Council (GCC) nations to approve the imposition of a 31% safeguarding duty on imports of color-coated coil for a period of three years.

The Iranian government recently announced that it intends to reduce import duties for steel products by 10%.

And finally, steel billet is expected to be the major export item in Iran’s 2025 Vision economic plan.

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