Quick-change RH plant from SMS Mevac successfully started up in South Korea

Hyundai Steel successfully commissions RH plant for the production of automotive grades
With the support of SMS Mevac (www.sms-mevac.com), Hyundai Steel Co. (Hyundai), based in Seoul, South Korea, has successfully commissioned the quick-change RH plant (Ruhrstahl Heraeus process) added to its secondary metallurgy facilities in Dangjin. The first melt was treated on Monday, October 5, 2015, approximately one month ahead of schedule. Already at this point, both Hyundai Steel Co. and SMS are very satisfied with the performance of the RH plant and with the commitment of all parties involved in the project.

The quick-change RH plant had been designed for the treatment of ladles with a nominal heat weight of 155 tons and an average production capacity of 1.2 million tons per year. Technical features of the plant include a hydraulically actuated ladle lifting system, a burner lance and a vacuum alloying system for adding ferroalloys under vacuum. Already in the engineering phase, the capacity of the plant was increased to 175 tons.

A four-stage steam-ejector vacuum pump system of the latest state of the art generates the vacuum. The system has been fitted with advanced pressure control technology which ensures an optimized process.

The RH plant is part of the existing electric steel mill. The steel treated in the RH plant is continuously cast into blooms and processed into high-alloyed quality parts, primarily for use in the automotive industry.

The scope of supply comprised the basic engineering and parts of the detail engineering, the delivery of key components such as the burner lance, the hydraulic system, etc. (the existing steam-ejector vacuum pump system was successfully modified) and supervision of installation and commissioning.

Source: SMS Group

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THE MEPS OCTOBER GLOBAL STEEL PRICE DOWN 26 PERCENT YEAR ON YEAR

Flat product transaction prices in the United States have plummeted to lows not seen since the last recession in 2009. Global oversupply is leading to strong import competition, heightened by the strength of the US dollar. Although foreign supplies have declined from their recent highs, they remain well above historical levels. Buyers are purchasing cautiously because they expect the negative price trend to continue. There is no urgency to build stocks since domestic mill delivery lead times are short and the availability of third country material at the ports is plentiful. Service centre inventories are on the high side, as a result of slow sales to end-users, who are keeping their stocks as low as possible.

After stabilising in September, Canadian flat product values have started to slip. The economy is weak and steel market conditions soft, especially in the energy and mining sectors. Service centres comment that their business is patchy. They have too much stock, leading to lower resale prices as they try to offload tonnage. Comparatively inexpensive imports continue to arrive unabated. During negotiations with local customers, domestic steelmakers are reluctant to compete with these cheap offers. However, producers continue to sell in the US, aided by the weak Canadian dollar.

Chinese participants have now returned to the market, following the October national holiday, only to see steel prices continue on their negative path. The main issue is one of oversupply, as growth in the economy slows. Local steel demand appears to be peaking. We have yet to see any significant production cuts, despite many steelmakers operating at a loss. Producers are increasingly focussing on overseas sales. Export volumes are likely to remain high until anti-dumping duties start to bite.

Japanese consumption continues to decline and imports of cheap steel pose a major problem for domestic steelmakers. However, market participants report that sales activity has begun to improve a little. Exports are faring better, on a weaker yen. Following recent large cuts, Tokyo Steel has announced that it will keep official list prices unchanged for November contracts because selling values are hitting the bottom and shipments are reviving. In the marketplace, we have noted small decreases for a number of products.

South Korean demand remains lacklustre, particularly from the construction industry. Total steel production was down more than 3 percent in the first nine months of 2015, compared with the same period a year earlier. However, the surge in imports has slowed. Volumes from overseas sources were down in September by around 10 percent, year-on-year. Chinese material accounted for over 60 percent of the total.

Neither sales nor prices are showing much sign of improvement in the Taiwanese market. There were expectations amongst buyers that major integrated steelmaker, CSC, would axe December prices. Instead, the company has decided to leave them flat compared with August. Flat product re-roller, Chung Hung, left domestic list figures, for October, unchanged and cut export quotations by around US$10 per tonne. Imports of steel from South Korea and China continue to disrupt the market.

Fourth quarter prices have fallen sharply, in Poland, causing stock losses at the distributors. Domestic demand is stable. Participants in the Czech/Slovak markets report that business activity is reasonable. Strip mill product prices, in the domestic currency, are relatively steady. Nevertheless, customers are keeping inventories well under control, despite the air of optimism. The market is, as yet, not significantly disrupted by third country imports. Exports, to Russia, of finished goods have declined. This is particularly affecting the engineering sector.

Flat product selling values continue to fall in western Europe, driven down by low import quotations and decreasing raw material costs. Moreover, the differential between offers from suppliers in the north and south of Europe is too vast to be sustainable for any length of time. Activity remains subdued and buyers, believing that further price cuts are inevitable, are purchasing cautiously.

Source: MEPS International Steel Review – October Issue

DEVELOPING MARKETS HIGHLIGHTS – FROM MEPS INTERNATIONAL LTD

Brazilian steelmakers attempted to push through a price increase for October’s production campaign. Predictably, distributors and end-users have been reluctant to commit to forward orders.

Russian trading houses remain adamant that the latest initiative to advance flat product transaction values does not reflect real demand. Meanwhile, long product steelmakers have again delayed releasing their November basis quotations.

Negative price expectations have gained momentum in India. Local steelmakers are faced with a dilemma of whether to attempt to ride out the difficult domestic trading conditions, or downgrade planned production targets. Meanwhile, the Chinese steel market remains unsettled. Distributors and downstream industries plan to avoid holding or building inventory in the interim.

Ukrainian finished steel prices have continued to trend downwards. The local association of metal producers, Metallurgprom, has forecast that crude steel production in November will reach 2.06 million tonnes – up 1.9 percent compared with September’s output.

Turkish steelmakers have struggled to adapt to October’s unpredictable business environment. Local steel traders are booking material for only short term needs, in anticipation of continuing price reductions.

Procurement activity in the United Arab Emirates was less vigorous, this month, than in September. Local stockists have been wary of finalising purchases in a falling market. Meanwhile, rolling mills opted to reduce their selling figures owing to the difficult market conditions and strong price competition from foreign sources.

Weak underlying demand remains a constraint on Mexican steelmakers’ ambitions to lift transaction values. Meanwhile, the National Chamber of Iron and Steel Industry (CANACERO) has welcomed the government’s decision to impose a temporary 15 percent import tariff on five steel products – including cold rolled coil and wire rod. This measure will be in place for a period of six months.

Source: MEPS – Developing Markets Steel Review – October Edition

Modernization and systems competence for wire rod mills

ArcelorMittal Kryviy Rih continues to rely on SMS group and orders third coil compactor in close succession

ArcelorMittal Kryviy Rih, Ukraine, has placed an order with SMS group for the supply of a further horizontal coil compactor for its two-strand wire rod mill.

After successful commissioning of a new coil compactor in 2013 and a second one in 2014, ArcelorMittal has now placed an order with SMS group for the supply of a third coil compactor of type HP 4700 – PWT2. In addition to the mechanical equipment, the scope of supply includes the electrical equipment, machine automation and the complete hydraulic systems. SMS will integrate the new compactor into the existing plant environment and optimize all process interfaces. One of the technological benefits provided by the new compactor is that it will turn the coils automatically. This will make it possible to produce coils with eight straps positioned at equal distances from one another by four strapping units. This ensures safe coil transport even over long distances. This strapping method is also suitable for higher-strength grades. Delivery of the third coil compactor is scheduled for the end of 2015.

Source: SMS Group

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UK STEEL PRICE ROUNDUP FROM MEPS INTERNATIONAL LTD

Hot rolled coil figures, in the UK, are under negative pressure, according to MEPS. Delivery lead times are relatively short. There is strong import competition from Turkey.

Commodity plate figures have weakened, since September. Third country offers are placing pressure on domestic selling figures. Customers are reluctant to purchase Chinese plate because of its high chromium content. Distributors note that, overall, day-to-day sales volumes remain poor. Consumption by the mining, oil and gas industries has declined considerably.

Coated coil transaction values are down since September. The vehicle sector is healthy, although Land Rover and Jaguar’s order books have dropped because of reduced exports to China. Distributors are busy with sales to the building industry.

Prices for low carbon wire rod dipped over the last four weeks. The high carbon grades are holding up better. Mesh quality selling values have fallen due to lower scrap prices. Sales to the building sector are healthy.

Demand for structural sections, in September, was quieter than many distributors envisaged. Resale prices continue to slide, ahead of perceived mill decreases as stockholders try to move inventories. There is overcapacity in this sector. Negative pressure exists due to the availability of cheap raw materials.

Rebar demand is fairly stable at a good level. The issue is one of oversupply. Chinese material, ordered earlier in 2015, is still arriving. However, the appetite for forward orders, despite ever reducing price offers, has diminished because of the ongoing anti-dumping investigation.

The negative pressure on merchant bar selling values persists, despite reasonable demand, which has not really changed since 2014. The downward price trend is creating problems for distributors because of the continual devaluation of their stocks. The main import threat is mainly from European sources.

Source: MEPS – European Steel Review – October 2015 Issue

NORDIC STEEL MARKET ROUNDUP FROM MEPS

Domestic selling figures across the Nordic region remain under pressure, according to MEPS. Buyers of hot rolled coil are reluctant to hold stock because they feel unable to predict price trends, in the near future. Competition between suppliers is keeping profit margins tight.

Business activity for commodity plate is depressed. No change is foreseen in the immediate term. Buyers in Norway report that imports from China are being offered, although quality issues make them unsuitable for some end-users.

Cold rolled coil sales tonnages have been reasonable in September and October. However, prices are down. Meanwhile, demand for coated coil is satisfactory but buyers are wary of the likely effects of the Chinese slowdown and the Volkswagen car emission scandal.

Drawing quality wire rod transaction values have moved lower. Competition between local suppliers remains tough and has been exacerbated by increased imports from Russia.

Sales volumes of structural sections have dropped off since mid-September. Slower growth in China has had a knock-on effect, in Europe. Delivery lead times from regional mills are very short, at one or two weeks.

Rebar consumption is mediocre. Transaction values dropped in October. Subdued demand and further reductions in scrap costs are putting selling figures under pressure.
End-users of merchant bar are only buying for their immediate needs. Stockists are too reluctant to build inventory. Prices continue to fall.

Source: European Steel Review Supplement – October Edition