STEEL WEEK IN BRIEF: Winter cuts in China, higher scrap prices, trade policy...

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

Seaborne iron ore prices picked up some strength on Friday November 17, reaching $62.61 per tonne cfr Qingdao, amid mixed cues from the market regarding steelmaking restrictions that recently came into effect in Northern China.

The availability of spot seaborne coking coal cargoes remained limited on Friday, with bids for premium material moving above $185 per tonne on an fob Australia basis.

Global scrap prices have increased over the past week, as the mills in Turkey returned to the deep-sea scrap markets for December bookings.

Taiwan’s import prices for containerized HMS-grade ferrous scrap remained on a bullish trend this week as demand remained stable.

Domestic prices for ferrous scrap in Italy have increased by €15-25 ($18-29) per tonne this month due to strong demand for the material.

East China’s Shagang has lowered its wire rod prices for mid-November, while keeping its rebar prices flat, but Eastern China’s Baosteel and central China’s Wuhan Iron & Steel have both rolled over the list prices for their mainstream flat steel products for December.

Export prices for CIS-origin hot-rolled coil (HRC) and cold-rolled coil (CRC) continued to trend downward over the past week, due to low demand, with buyers convinced that prices still have room to decrease.

CIS export steel slab prices have dropped by $20-25 per tonne over the past week amid increased pressure from Brazilian and Iranian competitors, as well as lower demand resulting from uncertainty in the finished flat steel products sector.

Rebar producers in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) lowered their prices in response to the global downturn, despite steady domestic demand.

Restrictions on construction activity in some parts of India have created pockets of oversupply in rebar and have squeezed the margin between the prices of domestic rebar and billet in the country.

European hollow steel sections producers have dropped their offer prices over the past week amid low sales and high stock levels.

Domestic rebar prices in Brazil were unchanged in early November, amid rumors of potential upswings.

United States-based steelmakers Nucor, Evraz North America, SSAB Americas and ArcelorMittal USA have raised steel plate prices by at least another $40 per ton ($2 per hundredweight).

And finally, with Turkey’s hot-dipped galvanized coil (HDG) exports to Europe increasing in 2017, Metal Bulletin is planning to launch a weekly price assessment for the product in December.

Trade policy
Mexico has started an anti-dumping investigation into imports of heavy plate from Italy and Japan.

Domestic steel flange producers Boltex and Weldbend are asking US officials to be more aggressive in investigating circumvention of anti-dumping and countervailing duties.

A World Trade Organization (WTO) panel has ruled that the US used some improper calculations in its 2014 anti-dumping action against imports of oil country tubular goods (OCTG) from South Korea.

The European Commission (EC) has ended the compulsory registration of imports of certain seamless stainless steel tube & pipe products from India, after completing an anti-circumvention investigation.

Global Affairs Canada’s Trade & Export Controls Bureau will continue a 31-year-old steel import monitoring program for three more years.

And Australia has imposed provisional anti-dumping duties on rebar from Taiwan, Indonesia and Thailand.

Around the world
The growing re-use and recycling of existing steel products is delaying the demand for new crude steel production capacity, World Steel Association (Worldsteel) director general Edwin Basson has told Metal Bulletin.

German steel companies could turn to alternative shipping methods because national railway operator Deutsche Bahn (DB) has been unable to meet demand with the number of wagons it is operating.

Further synergies and vertical integration can be expected in the European steel industry over the next few years, Antonio Marcegaglia, chairman of Italian re-roller Marcegaglia, has said.

Margin pressures felt by non-integrated European wire rod processors “will be mitigated only if access to imports, at commercially viable quantities and reasonable prices, is maintained,” according to the European Non-Integrated Wire Rod Processors Association (Eunirpa).

German steel processor Wuppermann has sold five of its businesses to compatriot investment firm Lafayette Capital, thereby leaving the sheet metal-processing sector.

Russian steelmaker Novolipetsk Steel (NLMK) has seen an increase in the sales volumes and prices of heavy plate in Brazil so far in 2017, compared with the previous year, South America business area manager Paulo Seabra told Metal Bulletin.

Egyptian rebar, sections and steel tube and pipe producer Ashry Steel will invest in new plant for the production of 500,000 tpy of CRC and 350,000 tpy of HDG.

Finally, Hebei, China’s key steelmaking province, has already exceeded its 2017 target of capacity cuts for crude steel and pig iron production.

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