STEEL WEEK IN BRIEF: US steel import tariff, higher scrap prices, lower iron ore prices...

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

All eyes this week were on US President Donald Trump’s decision to confirm his previously announced tariffs of 25% on steel imports and 10% on aluminium imports into the US.

Metal Bulletin’s team has extensively analyzed the likely effects on the global steel market of the trade action signed off under the Section 232 investigation by the US government. You can find a summary of the stories here.

China’s hot-rolled coil (HRC) prices fell further ahead of the weekend after the paper market tumbled.

Indian mills have raised their offer prices for exports of commercial-grade hot-rolled coil (HRC) by at least $10 per tonne.

Limited offers and bullish sentiment resulted in import prices for steel billet in Southeast Asia rising further, and made those for slab in the wider region (including East Asia) narrow upward.

Iranian export prices for steel billet and slab continued to rise, with bookings agreed at higher prices, supported by the upward trend in the global market and reduced availability of the materials.

CIS export billet prices continued to climb toward a five-year high, supported by strong demand in most sales outlets as well as reduced availability of material and rising scrap costs.

Egyptian producer Beshay Steel increased its rebar prices again.

Demand for flat steel will remain strong in Turkey through March, and price increases are expected to continue because producers are fully booked until late May.

Domestic prices for heavy steel plate in Southern Europe have increased, reflecting rising slab costs.

Prices for long steel products are expected to increase across Europe in March with steel mills counting on a rise in consumption when the weather improves.

Argentina’s domestic prices for HRC and cold-rolled coil (CRC) rose this month because of the increased prices in the global steel markets.

Raw materials
Prices for ferrous scrap in the major global markets kept rising despite questions over how US import tariff on steel could affect scrap markets.

Good scrap demand has led to higher prices in the import markets of Turkey, India and Taiwan, while US export prices have remained stable.

Meanwhile, iron ore prices continued to fall and hit $70 per tonne cfr China on Friday due to losses in both the futures and steel markets.

Prices in the seaborne coking coal market also gathered more downward momentum at the end of the week, with the number of offers continuing to outpace bids.

China’s coke export offers have risen to track domestic price increases after the country’s Chinese New Year break, but trading activity has yet to pick up.

Trade policy
Europe has extended existing anti-dumping duties of 48.3-71.9% on seamless, stainless steel tube & pipe originating from China for another five years.

Mexico has imposed final anti-dumping duties on imports of welded tube from China.

Around the world
Aditya Mittal, chief financial officer and chief executive officer of ArcelorMittal Europe, has been appointed president of the ArcelorMittal group in addition to his current responsibilities.

Japan’s Kobe Steel has rolled out a series of measures to prevent incidents such as its recent data-falsification scandal from recurring. This includes replacing some of its executives and restructuring its management and reporting systems.

As one consequence, it decided to appoint Mitsugu Yamaguchi president and chief executive officer of the company, with effect from April 1.

The March edition of China Steel Market Insight outlines the key activities and underlying data affecting the Chinese steelmaking market while trade in the region revives after the Chinese New Year holiday.

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