Global Growth In Stainless Steel Output To Continue

Worldwide crude stainless steel production, in 2017, reached an all-time high total of nearly 48.1 million tonnes. This represents an increase of 5 percent, compared with the year earlier figure. MEPS predicts that global output will grow by a further 5 percent, in 2018, to achieve a new record high mark of around 50.5 million tonnes.

USA

The introduction of tariffs or quotas, arising from the United States’ Section 232 action, is likely to alter the patterns of trade between the major stainless steel producing countries. Output in the United States grew by a healthy 11 percent, year-on-year, in 2017. We forecast more moderate expansion, this year.

South Korea & Taiwan

Production in South Korea and Taiwan continued its recovery, having slumped, following the Global Financial Crisis of 2008/9. Output increased by 6 percent, last year, in South Korea, to total 2.4 million tonnes. In Taiwan, production grew by nearly 9 percent, compared with the year earlier figure, to reach almost 1.4 million tonnes. Both countries are expected to record increases of around 4 percent, year-on-year, in 2018.

EU & Japan

Growth is more moderate, in the traditional stainless steelmaking centres of Japan and the European Union. Production increased at a modest pace in both markets, in 2017. Expansion is predicted to continue at a similar rate, in both places, this year.

China

In China, the annual growth rate in stainless steel supply slowed, to 4.7 percent, in 2017, after years of rapidly increasing output. Nevertheless, at 25.8 million tonnes, the country produced over 53 percent of the world’s crude stainless steel, last year. A further increment, of around 4 percent, year-on-year, is forecast for 2018.

Stainless steel production continues to climb most steeply in the “Others” category. India is becoming a major part of the global supply chain, while a new facility in Indonesia, commissioned last year, will also contribute significant tonnages, in the future.

Source: MEPS Stainless Steel Review

 

Section 232 Probe Creates Chaos In Global Steel Industry

Section 232 Probe Creates Chaos In Global Steel Industry

The consensus view from MEPS research, is that a large degree of uncertainty persists in the global steel market. It is becoming increasingly evident that North American and European steel buyers are hesitant about making purchasing decisions.

Section 232

US authorities introduced a 25 percent tariff on steel imports last month. Concerns regarding the final outcome of the Section 232 probe have developed around the world. These, particularly, relate to the potential for the diversion of trade into the EU. As a result, the European Commission is investigating the possibility of introducing further trade legislation. The likelihood is that existing and additional trade protection measures would lead to a decrease in imports and, potentially, cause supply shortages, in the US and EU.

It is widely perceived that protectionism restricts the choices for the customer. These measures are designed to safeguard the strategic interests of a steel-producing nation. Customers would, arguably, be denied the opportunity to procure material at competitive prices.

North America

In North America, regional mills have been given relatively free rein to escalate flat products’ selling values, in recent months – with minimal resistance from buyers. Amid a healthy trading environment, many US stockists remark that availability of material has tightened. At the end of this month’s research period, it was increasingly apparent that the positive pricing momentum, within the region, is stalling. MEPS believes that US flat product transaction values are nearing the peak of the current cycle. It is likely that US prices have now increased to levels at which imports are competitive, once again. Furthermore, local steelmakers intend to raise production. This should prevent shortages from developing.

Despite existing and potential new trade measures, MEPS predicts that global steel prices will come under negative pressure, in the second half of 2018.

Source:  Keynote from MEPS International Steel Review 

US Steel Import Restrictions Unsettle EU Steel Market

The European Commission is investigating the possibility of implementing additional trade measures against steel imports. It will focus on the potential diversion of trade which may result from the imposition, by the USA, of a 25 percent tariff on steel imports from a range of countries worldwide. The announcement created further speculation and uncertainty in the marketplace, not only regarding supply alternatives but also the effect that it could have on steel prices – both for flat and long products.

So far, strip mill product prices have not been directly affected. However, many customers, who, at present, are well stocked and have material already on order, can afford to postpone further purchasing decisions while they reflect on the eventual outcome. This has prevented further upward price momentum, in April, and even led to small negative corrections, in some instances, according to the latest edition of MEPS European Steel Review.

Germany

Output growth, in the German manufacturing sector, slowed, for the third consecutive month, in March. Nevertheless, steel demand remains relatively strong. Recent strip mill product business was negotiated at figures similar to those reported last month. Order intake at the domestic mills is positive, with bookings for the third quarter now in progress. Distributors’ stocks are well tuned to expected activity levels. Third country import offers are available from Turkey and Brazil but prices remain quite high.

France

Activity is at a good level, in France. Prices are relatively stable, this month. However, distributors report a slowdown in order intake since the end of March/beginning of April. Inventories are high, at a number of companies. The auto industry continues to be the main driver for strip mill products demand. In general, buyers report better availability, while mill delivery lead times are decreasing a little.

Italy

Italy’s manufacturing sector continued to expand during March, although the pace of growth slowed. However, market sentiment has softened. The formation of a new government is protracted, leading to a halt in new investment. Moreover, uncertainty exists regarding trade in global steel markets. Buyers, who bought heavily in the first quarter, can now afford to wait before reordering. Mill delivery lead times are reducing, for strip mill products, with the exception of hot dipped galvanised coil. Several small, downward price corrections were noted, during April negotiations, for material to be delivered in June/July. Resale values remain under pressure.

United Kingdom

In the UK, distributors report improved sales volumes. Supplying mills’ delivery lead times are out to July/August. Basis values were rolled over during recent settlements. Resale prices, which were under negative pressure, due to high service centre inventories, are starting to rise, as stock levels reduce. Nevertheless, independent distributors continue to complain that their integrated counterparts are selling aggressively. Third country quotations are limited.

Belgium

The Belgian economy is healthy, with robust steel demand. Strip mill product spot prices are stable. The European steelmakers are claiming an increase for the third trimester. Alternatives to domestically produced material are difficult to source. Although third country importers reduced their quotations, MEPS detects little incentive to purchase from overseas, as the price differential is quite small. Distributors are busy. They report that replacement costs can be incorporated into their resale prices without much difficulty.

Spain

Spanish manufacturers recorded a further marked improvement in business conditions, at the end of the first quarter of 2018. Steel demand is healthy and stable. However, service centre stocks are at an acceptable level, enabling buyers to wait before placing new orders. Quotations from importers reduced, in late March/early April. Domestic price corrections were noted by MEPS for all strip mill product categories, this month. Buyers are nervous that further weakness may develop, ahead of the summer vacation. Service centres have not fully succeeded in recouping the recent mill hikes from their customers.

Source: MEPS International LTD – European Steel Review

MEPS European Steel Review is published every month and provides accurate, independent data and analysis on the European steel industry.

Primetals Technologies received PAC from ArcelorMittal Poland for second LD converter

  • Converter entered service on schedule in February 2018 in the Dąbrowa Górnicza plant
  • A first converter had entered service on schedule at the end of November 2016
  • Vaicon Link 2.0 maintenance-free converter suspension offers a long service life

 

Primetals Technologies has received the Provisional Acceptance Certificate (PAC) from ArcelorMittal Poland S.A. for the replacement of the second LD(BOF) converter at its Dąbrowa Górnicza steel works. Like its counterpart, Converter #1 – already replaced by Primetals Technologies and commissioned in November 2016 – Converter #3 was a turnkey construction. Its replacement had already been agreed as an option in the third quarter of 2015. The second converter will also be suspended by the maintenance-free Vaicon Link 2.0 which not only has a long service life but also minimizes the stresses caused by thermal deformations.

The converters previously used in the Dąbrowa Górnicza steel works had reached the end of their life cycles. As in the case of Converter #1, Primetals Technologies supplied the vessel and the trunnion ring, including the maintenance-free Vaicon Link 2.0 suspension, for Converter #3. The converter bearings and the enclosure have also been renewed. The order included also removal of the existing vessel and assembly and installation of the new equipment. This had been handled by ZKS Ferrum S.A., the Polish partner in the consortium.

ArcelorMittal Poland is the leading steel producer in Poland, operating six production plants in the south of Poland. Its range of products includes profiles, rails, fittings for the construction, transport and mining industries, as well as flat products for the automotive industry and domestic appliances. The Dąbrowa Górnicza plant specializes in producing heavy profiles. It is also one of a few plants worldwide able to produce 120 meter long rails.

LD (BOF) converter  installed by Primetals Technologies at the Dąbrowa Górnicza steel works for ArcelorMittal Poland S.A.

Source: Primetals Technologies received PAC from ArcelorMittal Poland for second LD converter

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Flat Product Steel Prices Stable in the Nordic Region

Hot rolled coil consumption is steady, in Denmark. Regional mills sought price increases, this month, but buyers resisted, according to the latest edition of MEPS European Steel Review Supplement. In Sweden, while demand from the building sector declined, a little, the overall economy is strong. This is reflected in healthy steel sales volumes. Purchase tonnages are stable, at a high level, in Finland. In Norway, purchasing activity is brisk but is not predicted to increase significantly.

The plate market, in Denmark, is a little subdued but a pickup is predicted, in the near term. European mills continue to push for price increases. However, end-users believe that transaction values are too high and, consequently, stockists are reluctant to agree to the producers’ proposals. Third country import offers are rising. In Sweden, contract prices are up, for quarter two, but the trend in spot values has levelled out. Industrial consumption is healthy. Plate demand is good, in Finland. Selling values are at a high level but did not increase, this month. Producers’ delivery lead times are extending, in Norway. Demand, from machinery manufacturers and the offshore energy sector, is growing.

Buyers, in Denmark, are finding the availability of cold rolled coils, from EU mills, limited. They are, therefore, purchasing more from third country suppliers. The requirement from the manufacturing sector is strong, in Sweden. Sales volumes and transaction values are high. The Swedish currency continues to weaken. Cold rolled coil consumption is steady, at a satisfactory level, in Finland. Prices, are unchanged, in April. Demand is fair, in Norway. However, customers are buying only for their immediate needs, as they expect prices to decline, soon.

In Denmark, the coated coil market remains strong and supply is still restricted. This will begin to ease when ArcelorMittal restarts its galvanising line, in Belgium. For now, prices for thin gauge material are rising but those for MEPS’ benchmark products are unchanged. In Sweden, carmaking activity is very strong and demand from the industrial sectors, generally, is more than satisfactory. Finnish suppliers continue to report good sales to the auto supply chains in neighbouring Sweden and Germany.

Source: European Steel Review Supplement – April 2018 Edition

People also read: Section 232 Action Creates Ripples Throughout Stainless Steel Markets

Henan Yaxin orders two EAF Quantum electric arc furnaces from Primetals Technologies

The Chinese steel producer Henan Yaxin Steel Group Co., Ltd. (Henan Yaxin) has placed an order at Primetals Technologies for two EAF Quantum electric arc furnaces with a tapping weight of maximum 120 metric tons each. The new production plant into which Henan Yaxin are to integrate these arc furnaces will expedite a transition of the existing induction furnace production and converter steelmaking to a more environmentally-compatible electrosteel process. An extremely low requirement of electrical energy, which also contributes to a reduction in both operating costs and CO2 emissions, is greatly significant in this regard. Commissioning of both new furnaces is already scheduled for the first quarter of 2019.

The privately-owned concern Henan Yaxin operates integrated and compact steelmaking plants in five provinces and cities in China, and can produce approximately more than ten million metric tons of steel each year. Primetals Technologies will supply the entire mechanical and electrical process equipment for both new EAF Quantum electric arc furnaces. “Balance of plant” equipment and services will be provided by a local design institute.

  • Electric arc furnaces feature a tap weight of maximum 120 tons
  • EAF Quantum furnaces support the transition to more environmentally-friendly steel production
  • Lower electrical energy requirement per metric ton of liquid steel
  • Plant concept reduces operating costs and CO2 emissions
  • Short project execution time

Developed by Primetals Technologies, the EAF Quantum combines proven elements of shaft furnace technology with an innovative scrap feeding process, efficient preheating system, new tipping concept for the lower shell, and an optimized tap system to attain significantly reduced tap-to-tap times. The electrical energy requirement is considerably less than that of a conventional electric arc furnace. In conjunction with reduced consumption of electrodes and oxygen, a cumulative benefit of around 20 percent is achieved for respective conversion costs. Overall, reductions of up to 30 percent of CO2 emissions per metric ton of crude steel can be attained when compared to conventional arc furnaces.

Source: Primetals Technologies

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