STEEL WEEK IN BRIEF: Section 232 wrap, US steel prices, iron ore below $70 per tonne...

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

Once again, Metal Bulletin’s team has written extensively about the effects of the United States government’s recent decision to impose tariffs of 25% on steel imports. Reactions from global economies, the effect on US prices and market comments were all analyzed. You can find a summary of these analyses here.

East China’s Shagang rolled over the prices for its long steel products for shipment in mid-March, while Baosteel raised the list prices for all of its mainstream flat steel products by 50 yuan ($8) per tonne for April.

Slab prices have increased in various parts of the world due to reduced supply, including in Southeast Asia, in the CIS region and in Brazil.

Ukraine’s Dneprovskiy Dzerzhinsky Metallurgical Plant (DMKD) has failed to achieve the billet production volumes planned after last year’s restart, adding to the pressure for higher CIS export prices.

Billet prices in both Turkey and India have also increased.

In Europe, Italian steel re-rollers have been trying to achieve price increases for heavy plate products following the recent rise in slab costs.

The base price assessments for flat and long stainless steel products in Europe widened upward this week despite continued import pressure.

And finally, prices for hollow steel sections in Northern Europe have fallen by €5 ($6) per tonne, with some mills accepting lower bids to secure orders, while prices for rebar produced and delivered in Southern Europe widened upward by €10 per tonne amid higher scrap costs.

Raw materials
Iron ore prices retreated below $70 per tonne cfr on Friday following a decline in the futures market amid doubts whether downstream demand for steel in China has truly started to recover after the Chinese new year.

Shorter lead times, smaller volumes and less onerous financing arrangements have seen portside iron ore trading grow in popularity over the past three-to-four years.

In Brazil, iron ore output at Anglo American’s Minas-Rio operation is still halted after a slurry pipeline rupture, but shipments are not expected to be affected.

Meanwhile, the seaborne coking coal market took a breather on Friday, although buyers outside of China were still expecting prices to show a downward correction.

In the scrap market, global prices remained generally stable except in Taiwan.

Prices in the export market for CIS-origin pig iron have gone up again on strong markets for scrap and flat steel products.

Trade policy
The European Commission (EC) has started a review procedure of anti-dumping measures in place affecting certain organic coated flat steel products from China.

Turkey should avoid reducing its import duty on hot-rolled coil (HRC) because such a move would cause dumped goods to enter the market and harm local producers, according to an executive with a Turkish HRC producer.

Kuwait has increased the duty applied to imports of rebar to 10% from the previous 5%, effective from March 1 this year until the end of February 2019.

Around the world
Japan’s Nippon Steel & Sumitomo Metal Corp will expand its global presence in special steels markets by acquiring Swedish special steels maker Ovako and making Japanese steelmaker Sanyo Special Steel a subsidiary.

New long steel capacity in the pipeline in the Philippines may well disrupt trade flows in Asia once they come on-stream.

The Naveena Group of Pakistan has announced that it will start production of steel billet and rebar in a new mill in Karachi by 2019.

Dutch wire products supplier Van Merksteijn has confirmed that it has ordered an electric-arc furnace (EAF) and a wire rod rolling mill, which will enable it to secure supplies and substantially reduce its reliance on wire rod imports.

Scrap merchant Sims Metal Management UK has taken over the operations of fellow UK recycler Morley Waste Traders.

Brazilian steel producer CSN is negotiating the sale of its LLC subsidiary in the US.

Brazilian iron ore pellet producer Samarco has appointed Rodrigo Alvarenga Vilela its interim chief executive officer, with effect from March 28.

And finally, China’s major mills continued to raise their crude steel output rates in late February.

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