STEEL WEEK IN BRIEF: Vale to price contracts based on Metal Bulletin’s 65% Fe index, China’s HRC, rebar indices launched, miners’ Q3 output results…

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

Iron ore prices rose above $62 per tonne cfr China on Friday October 20 amid strong gains in China’s ferrous futures market.

But government-imposed production cuts among mills in north China continued to take a toll on demand.

Brazilian iron ore producer Vale plans to price 100% of its Carajás sales contracts based on Metal Bulletin’s 65% Fe Iron Ore Index, among other initiatives intended to improve the prices it achieves for its products.

The premium segment of the seaborne coking coal market experienced a pick-up in trading activity this week, with a cargo of mid-vol product trading around $177 per tonne fob Australia.

The outlook for the rest October for the coking coal market is bearish.

The Turkish scrap market has remained quiet over the past week after mills bought several cargoes at the end of last week. However, scrap prices in the country have fallen since then on strong supplies and weaker demand.

Scrap prices in Taiwan and India were comparatively stable this week, while the UK inter-merchant price range for austenitic alloy steel scrap rose by £20-50 per tonne as the nickel price continued its recent rise.

Metal Bulletin has launched daily export price indices for Chinese hot rolled coil (HRC) and rebar out of China amid calls for more independent third-party references for the benchmarking of steel prices.

China’s HRC export prices rose on Friday after the domestic market recovered some lost ground ahead of the weekend, while export prices for rebar fell sharply despite a recovery in the country’s domestic market.

Both north-east China’s Benxi Iron & Steel and north China’s Shougang have kept their list prices for mainstream flat steel products unchanged for November.

CIS slab exporters are considering an increase in prices in the near term, following the uptick in the domestic and export markets for flat steel in China.

Turkish long steel producer Kardemir opened its new price list for domestic long steel and billet sales.

Turkish domestic steel billet prices have inched down in line with the recent decrease in imported scrap prices, while import and export billet prices have remained comparatively steady.

Poland’s mills have almost sold out of October-rolling rebar with prices holding steady, but they will try to push prices upward for November production because of limited supply.

European prices for hot dipped galvanized coil (HDG) had a mixed week, with trade measures helping to boost northern prices while a lack of activity left prices in Southern European unchanged.

Trade policy
India is to impose definitive anti-dumping duties on certain colour-coated and pre-painted flat steel imports from China and the EU for a period of five years.

The USA has postponed the final results of its administrative review in an anti-dumping case involving imports of steel tube & pipe from Taiwan.

The country is also investigating whether an anti-dumping order should be reinstated against stainless steel bar imports from Indian producers Venus Group and Viraj Profiles – a decision that could affect domestic US stainless bar prices.

Mexico has, for the fourth time, extended a 15% tariff imposed on imports of slab, HRC, heavy plate, cold rolled coil (CRC) and wire rod to protect the domestic steel sector.

In the USA, several mills announced prices increases, including NucorNLMKUS SteelCSI and ArcelorMittal USA.

In Canada, Dofasco increased the spot market base prices for its HR, CR and coated steel products alongside similar moves by other North American steelmakers.

Around the world
Vale’s iron ore output set a quarterly record in July-September 2017, at 95.11 million tonnes, while its iron ore pellet production also hit a quarterly record, at 12.77 million tonnes.

China’s crude steel output continued to rise on a year-on-year basis in September, to 71.83 million tonnes, although it retreated from August’s record high.

For the three months to September 30, BHP’s iron ore production dropped by 3% on an annual basis, to 56 million tonnes.

Over the same period, Rio Tinto’s iron ore output increased by 2%, to 85 million tonnes.

This week, Metal Bulletin have extensively reported from the Bureau of International Recycling (BIR) meeting in New Delhi and World Steel Assn (Worldsteel)’s annual conference in Brussels.

In India, the Ministry of Steel has said that shredded scrap prices in India are likely to rise in the coming decades as the country switches to using recycled materials for steelmaking rather than iron ore and direct reduced iron (DRI).

Meanwhile, Worldsteel said that global finished steel demand is forecast to grow by 7% this year, to 1,622.10 million tonnes.

In the USA, the steel industry has been hammered by a surge of imports that can be blamed directly on the Trump administration’s delayed Section 232 investigation into foreign steel, Nucor’s ceo John Ferriola has said.

And finally, Ferriola has called for a top-to-bottom review of Nucor’s DRI facility in Louisiana after a series of ‘unacceptable’ outages this year.