Uncertainty Dampens Trading Activity in Emerging Steel Markets

Difficult trading conditions persist in Brazil. Buyers started to push for lower prices, in view of the downward movement being witnessed in other global steel markets.

Russian steelmakers are under pressure to lower plant utilisation rates to support transaction values. Market fundamentals remain weak. Local trading houses are booking for only immediate requirements due to price fluctuations and working capital problems. Shipments to tube fabricators, OEMs and mechanical engineering companies continue to underperform expectations.

Business sentiment deteriorated in India. Stockists operating in states, adjacent to the Bay of Bengal, witnessed a fall in business activity with the onset of the monsoon season. Meanwhile, steel manufacturers hoped that steady pricing, in July, will persuade customers to place orders rather than postponing purchasing decisions.

The Ukrainian market is slow ahead of the summer vacations. Order intake at the mills is very subdued, with few deals being concluded. Transaction figures fell as producers became eager to book business.

Procurement activity in Turkey is forecast to pick up after the holiday period. However, cautious service centres are booking for only immediate requirements, in anticipation that the revival will be short-lived. The third quarter is usually a slow season for the local steel industry

The United Arab Emirates market is very quiet, with no business activity of any significance taking place during the holy month of Ramadan. Domestic producers continually speak of higher prices but they are flexible when there is business to place.

Source: MEPS – Developing Markets Steel Review – June 2017 Edition

Primetals Technologies receives order for relocation and upgrade of plate mill from Shandong Iron & Steel Group Rizhao Co., Ltd

  • Plate mill will be part of the Shansteel Rizhao Quality Products Base
  • Relocation and upgrade will improve competitiveness and end product quality

In April, Chinese steel producer Shandong Iron and Steel Group Rizhao Co., Ltd. placed an order with Primetals Technologies for the relocation of its 4.3m plate mill line from Jinan to Rizhao. Once relocated, the plate mill will also receive an upgrade. The mill will be part of the Shansteel Rizhao Quality Products Base, an initiative to concentrate and upgrade production facilities in order to improve competitiveness and end product quality. The relocation is scheduled to be finished in 2018.

The original 4.3m plate mill was installed by Primetals Technologies in 2010. Within the scope of the relocation project, more than 50,000 tons of mechanical and electrical equipment, and more than 1,000 tons of piping have to be dismantled and reinstalled at the Shansteel Rizhao Quality Products Base. This relocation project is a strategic decision by Shandong Iron and Steel Group to adjust its structure and upgrade its facilities, which will strongly improve overall competiveness.

Primetals Technologies will be responsible for the basic and detail engineering of the relocation, supply of new equipment, installation supervision and commissioning. In addition to the relocation from Jinan to Rizhao, a Level-2 performance- upgrade will also be integrated by Primetals Technology. The upgrade package contains newest technology, such as the holistic morgoil compensation model with full automatic parameter acquisition. It can be easily be integrated into the existing software. This will allow the mill to produce high quality plates in order to be fit for future market demands.

Shandong Iron and Steel Group Rizhao Co., Ltd. is a subsidiary of Shandong Iron and Steel Group. It was founded in 2009 as the centerpiece and end user for materials from the Shansteel Rizhao Quality Products Base.

Source: Primetals Technologies

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The MEPS Global All Products Composite Steel Price Continues to Slip

Worldwide steel selling figures are projected to remain on a negative trend for the remainder of 2017. The MEPS global all products composite price declined by 1.7 percent, month-on-month, in June. Weakening demand conditions and falling mill raw material expenditure are likely to put further downward pressure on world steel values, in the near term.

The majority of North American flat product steel market participants expect further price deterioration during the third trimester. They anticipate seasonally weak purchasing activity, in particular from the automotive sector, and reduced mill input costs. However, in an attempt to halt the recent slide in selling figures, regional steel producers announced a hike in list values, this month – with many buyers labelling this initiative as a ‘defensive move’ to prevent further price erosion.

Amid an uncertain climate, owing to the Section 232 investigation, foreign competition is expected to reduce. The mills’ price initiatives should minimise further losses, in the short term.

North American long product figures continue to be hampered by lacklustre demand and fierce competition between domestic producers. We expect US buyers to resist the mills’ attempts to raise construction steel prices. Slightly declining scrap costs will support their efforts to secure further price concessions, until the end of the year.

In Europe, flat product numbers are likely to soften further, in the remainder of 2017, as a consequence of improved supply, in particular for hot dipped galvanised material. High inventory levels throughout the supply chain and significant import penetration from third countries will exert downward pressure on regional values. Long product selling figures are expected to slip, as a result of plentiful supply and sluggish demand, within the region.

MEPS expects regional prices, in Asia, for both flat and long products, to be under negative pressure, in the second half of 2017, owing, mainly, to falling mill raw material expenditure. In the near term, Chinese prices are likely to remain volatile. However, regional mills may be reluctant to offer discounted deals, as previous price gains, within the region, were modest, compared with those in Europe and North America.

Despite the anticipated price falls towards the end of 2017, MEPS predicts that global steelmakers, in particular flat product suppliers, will retain a vast proportion of the gains that they secured since the beginning of last year.

Source: MEPS International Steel Review – June 2017 Edition

A new high-performance piercer in Düsseldorf-Rath tube plant

Innovation and competitive strength: Vallourec inaugurates new cutting-edge tube-piercing equipment in Germany

Boulogne-Billancourt, 21 June 2017 – Vallourec, world leader in premium tubular solutions, puts a new high-performance piercer into operation at its Düsseldorf-Rath tube plant. This cutting-edge equipment is considered among the most modern in the world and guarantees increased productivity and reduced energy consumption.

The piercing of solid steel billets and their hot rolling on a mandrel are two key stages in the production of seamless steel tubes. Controlling these processes is crucial to the dimensional and metallurgical quality of the products. With this new tool, Vallourec demonstrates its determination to maintain its highest level of technological expertise and reinforces its position as a global leader.

Equipped with three-roll technology, the new piercer is more powerful, enabling it to shape, with outstanding dimensional precision and excellent surface quality, premium tubes designed for the most demanding applications.

Working alongside the plant’s rolling mill, the new piercer will also offer greater flexibility in terms of the dimensions that can be achieved (outside diameter, thickness, length) and the range of materials manufactured. It will also consume less energy per metric ton produced.

The new equipment will enable the Group to meet rising demand for high-strength and/or high-alloy steel tubes. Alloys that exhibit an optimal strength/weight ratio are indeed being sought for a growing number of applications in the engineering industry (cylinder tubes, crane components), steel construction (structural components for drilling platforms), oil and gas (casing tubes and coupling, line tubes), power generation (boiler tubes for power plants) and petrochemicals, all markets in which the Group has a strong presence.

Lastly, the new piercer makes it possible to fully automate the process, resulting in numerous internal production optimizations and improvements in quality. Christoph Bem, the plant’s director, explained: “The combination of the latest technology and automation leads to a faster production process that is able to sustain the highest quality standards. In this way we can intensify our commitment to excellence for our customers”.

Philippe Crouzet, Chairman of the Management Board, concluded: “This new innovative tool, which is faster, more reliable and more efficient, is an undeniable asset for the Group in Europe and is aligned with our global approach to innovation. It will enable us to meet the market’s ever-growing requirements and maintain our technological lead in the manufacturing of high-strength premium tubes”.

Source:Vallourec

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CHINESE CUSTOMER TO EQUIP FOUR NEW BLAST FURNACES WITH PAUL WURTH BLT CHARGING AND INBA SYSTEMS

For a brand-new, 12 mtpy ironmaking plant, Hebei Zongheng Group Tangshan Fengnan Iron & Steel relies on the latest technology of the international market leader in top charging and slag granulation.

Recently, Capital Engineering & Research Incorporation (CERI), the General Contractor, signed two contracts with Paul Wurth for engineering and supply of four sets of Central Feed Bell Less Top® charging systems as well as INBA® slag granulation and dewatering equipment for the four blast furnaces of the end customer’s new ironmaking plant. Each of these furnaces will have an inner volume of 2,850 m3, designed for a daily production of 7,522.5 tons of hot metal.

The BLT order comprises all the mechanical equipment (including material hoppers of 65 m3 volume), the cooling, hydraulic and lubrication systems, field mounted electrical and lubrication equipment as well as site supervision services for erection and commissioning. The tops feature some of Paul Wurth’s latest developments such as the pressurized cooling concept for the chute transmission gearbox. The INBA order covers eight dewatering drum units under hot water system, which is quite commonly adopted by local customers.

Considering Paul Wurth’s convincing arguments and facts, both the customer and the general contractor have decided to go for the innovative and reliable technology of the international market leader.

All four blast furnaces of Tangshan Fengnan’s new plant shall be commissioned in the course of the year 2018. A fifth, identical blast furnace is subject of the customer’s further expansion plans; this is foreseen to be built after hot commissioning of the first four furnaces.

Source: Paul Wurth

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Hot Rolled Coil and Plate Prices Decrease in Northern Europe

Demand for hot rolled coil is fair, in Denmark, but stockists are trying to reduce their inventories, before prices fall further. MEPS notes that delivery lead times from the mills have reduced. End-users are busy, in Sweden, and hot rolled coil sales volumes are healthy. In Finland, market activity is at a high level and, so far, the usual degree of slowing down, before the summer vacation period, has not been reported. Delivery lead times are short, in the Netherlands, and material is plentiful – augmented by imports from Poland and the Czech Republic. Hot rolled coil sales volumes are holding up, in Norway, with little sign, as yet, of a summer slowdown.

Plate consumption is steady, in Denmark. Prices from northern European mills are under downward pressure – mainly as a result of low-cost supplies from mills in the south of the continent. Demand from domestic end-users is very strong, in Sweden. However, plate prices throughout the region are being depressed by falling raw material costs and competition between sellers. Sales tonnages are reasonable, in Finland, but selling values – particularly for commodity grades – are weakening. In the Netherlands, demand from the agricultural sector is subdued, while sales to shipbuilders are holding firm, albeit at quite a low level. Plate consumption is fair, in Norway, but prices slipped, in June, in line with the regional market trend.

Source: European Steel Review Supplement – June Edition