STEEL WEEK IN BRIEF: Rising scrap prices, higher steel prices globally, Vale/ArcelorMittal Q2 earnings...

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

Iron ore prices ended the working week on Friday July 28 below $69 per tonne cfr China despite active trading at Chinese ports, after staying above $70 per tonne for two days over the period.

The seaborne coking coal spot market, meanwhile, was quiet on Friday, with participants continuing to sit on the sidelines in anticipation of more active offers and trades next week.

China’s metallurgical coke export prices have extended gains in the second half of July, with another two rounds of domestic hikes and seaborne coking coal getting costlier.

In the scrap sector, a sharp increase in Turkish import values pushed up prices in major markets, such as India and Taiwan.

Rising scrap values pushed up Turkish prices for both steel billet and rebar.

Import billet prices in Southeast Asia have continued to move up over the past week along with prices in the Chinese domestic market, where the availability of such material was reduced.

CIS export slab prices have gone up over the past week, supported by the upward trend in finished flat steel products as well as reduced availability of the materials in the region.

The prices of CIS-origin hot rolled coil (HRC) and cold rolled coil (CRC) have jumped by between $15 and $40 per tonne over the past week, as the region’s producers have raised their offers.

Higher CIS flat steel export priced led to increases in Russia-origin hot rolled (HR) and cold rolled (CR) sheet.

China’s export prices for hot rolled coil appear to have hit a ceiling after six weeks of increases, as the country’s domestic market cools down.

In Brazil, Usiminas announced it will raise its prices for heavy plate and hot dipped galvanized coil (HDG) for the domestic market.

Metal Bulletin sister publication AMM’s HRC index debut showed prices on rise despite 232 doubts.

The USA’s AK Steel raised its flat steel spot prices by at least $25 per tonne.

In Europe, Spanish steelmaker Celsa will introduce an extra charge of €9 ($10) per tonne on all of its products across Europe from the beginning of August, because of increased costs for ferro-alloys, electrodes and refractories.

Trade policy
Turkey has reduced its import duty on rebar to 10%, with immediate effect, the Turkish Steel Producers Assn (TÇÜD) said.

Imports of Taiwanese rebar will face US duties of 3.50% to 32.01% if injury is found in an ongoing trade case, the US Commerce Department said in a final determination.

The conclusion of Brazil’s anti-dumping investigation into imports of HRC from China and Russia is expected to be announced in September, according to national steel institute Aço Brasil.

Brazilian steel producers are taking action to seek an exclusion from measures related to the USA’s Section 232 investigation on whether steel imports posed a national security threat to the North American country.

The European Commission (EC) is looking into the possibility of applying anti-dumping (AD) duties to imports of hot rolled stainless steel products from China, according to Acerinox ceo Bernardo Velázquez.

The application of a minimum import price (MIP) on HRC in Europe is a “victory for buyers” but it will not guarantee protection for domestic steelmakers from cheap imports, market sources have told Metal Bulletin. The EC has decided to impose an MIP on HRC from Russia, Ukraine, Brazil and Iran.

Around the world
Brazilian royalties on iron ore will rise to as much as 4%, depending on global market prices, from a previous maximum of 2%. The new royalty regime, called CFEM, is part of Brazil’s updated mining code.

Vale said it is “bothered” and “clearly not satisfied” with the rise in iron ore royalties in Brazil, as it affects its competitiveness and adds further costs to its output structure.

The Brazilian miner saw its earnings rise by 16.17% year-on-year in the second quarter of 2017, due to improved performance at its ferrous, coal and base metals divisions.

ArcelorMittal’s global earnings increased by 19.32% year-on-year in the second quarter of 2017 due to higher steel and iron ore prices.

The Baowu Steel Group has signed a memorandum of co-operation with Shandong Xinhai Technology Co to set up a stainless steel mill in Shandong province.

Ukrainian steelmaker Dneprovskiy Dzerzhinsky Metallurgical Plant (DMKD) has resumed operations and is expected to start offering its September-October production billet for exports next month.

Algeria has finally issued import licences for rebar, but with a tonnage allowance significantly lower than in 2016.

And finally, US steelmaker Nucor once again temporarily halted production at its direct-reduced iron (DRI) facility in Louisiana this week, this time to repair the plant’s materials handling system.

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