Mixed Trend in EU Flat Product Steel Prices in July

Germany

German consumption of strip mill products is healthy. Availability of commodity grade material is good. The steelmakers are trying to implement a rise of €20/30 per tonne in the general market, for October deliveries. Currently, service centres are well booked for third trimester business, but resale margins remain under negative pressure. Third country import offers show little price advantage against domestically produced steel.

France

In France, distributors supplying the auto industry continue to indicate very strong sales. Supply difficulties were reported, with some delivery problems regarding material sourced in the Netherlands and Germany. Spot values were stable or slightly down, in July. The steelmakers’ announcements, to raise figures by €20 per tonne, met with a large degree of resistance. Service centres are not willing to order at increased prices, considering the level of their resale values and competition in that sector from mill-owned distributors.

Italy

Growth in Italy’s manufacturing sector improved, during June. However, general market sentiment has softened. Nevertheless, the recent price erosion was halted, in July, with the price trend reverting to a positive one, albeit from a very low base. All local/regional mills raised list prices, in tandem, as slab costs escalated. Inventory levels were reduced, prompting buyers to make stock purchases. Supply uncertainty exists due to the EC safeguard investigation. Moreover, the majority of mills will, shortly, be undertaking scheduled summer maintenance. Buyers anticipate further hikes, after the holidays, in September. However, resale margins at the service centres remain poor.

United Kingdom

The performance of the UK manufacturing sector remained relatively subdued, in June. Nevertheless, a number of steel stockholders reported good levels of activity and quite strong demand. Their resale prices continue to recover but are still not at the required level. Independent distributors continue to complain that mill-owned service centres are selling aggressively, thus lowering customers’ price expectations. Trader stock levels have dwindled as they are unwilling to take the risk that retrospective duties may be applied. Basis values, quoted by steelmakers, are similar to those reported, in June. Delivery lead times are extending into October.

Belgium

Strip mill product basis prices remained stable, in Belgium, in July. Sellers would like to impose a rise but the onset of the Belgian holidays, in mid-July, have, so far, enabled buyers to postpone purchasing decisions. Distributors’ resale values, which were reflecting steel costs, recently weakened, as end-users refused to pay more. Inventory levels are normal to low. Customers complain of delayed deliveries from the steelmakers.

Spain

Spanish manufacturing business conditions continued to improve, at the end of the second quarter 2018. However, the rate of growth in the sector remained muted, compared with earlier in the year. Nevertheless, distributors report a relatively quiet market. Despite the mills’ announcements of a €20 per tonne rise, strip mill product figures were stable, in July. Currently, import offers are uncompetitive. Buyers anticipate that domestic price increases will be secured, once negotiations are concluded.

Source: MEPS European Steel Review

 

Global Steel Sector in Turmoil

Slow Seasonal Demand and Trade Sanctions Affect Steel Prices in Emerging Markets

Mexico

Mexican steelmakers continually pressed for increased prices, in July, but mills offered a degree of flexibility and discounting when deals were finalised. The recent depreciation of the national currency against the US dollar has exacerbated the situation. Meanwhile, the National Chamber of Iron and Steel Industry (CANACERO) lobbied the new government for tougher measures to protect the manufacturing and steel industries from foreign competition. The previous Peña Nieto administration imposed commercial import duties on US goods totalling US$3 billion.

Brazil

Brazilian steelmakers struggled to raise transaction values to distributors, in July. End-users remain risk averse. The majority plan to continue with cautious purchasing strategies. Price support from export demand is limited.

Russia

Russian trading houses plan to persevere with conservative inventory levels, reflecting a seasonal slowdown in end-user demand. They expect domestic suppliers will concede further price reductions, to fill their rolling schedules. Meanwhile, Russian steelmakers criticised the European Union’s decision to impose restrictions on imports of steel goods, this month.

India

Demand is tepid throughout India. Sales volumes have slowed in the country’s northern and central states. Stockists operating in these regions have begun to offer discounts to facilitate deals. Traditionally, the monsoon season ends in September. Both primary and secondary steel producers were wary to offer price reductions and more favourable payment terms, fearing such measures would be counterproductive.

Ukraine

The Ukrainian steel market is described as “steady but slow”, as the summer commences. Manufacturing activity has improved, although businesses are still reluctant to invest. The mills are targeting overseas markets to offload their surplus output.

Turkey

Difficult business conditions persist in Turkey. Producers would like to implement a domestic price advance, citing the depreciation of the Turkish lira against the US dollar and rising international prices, but, so far, this has not proved possible. Sales to end-users and distributors remain tepid.

United Arab Emirates

Emirati service centres are wary of carrying too much inventory during the summer months. They note that it is risky to conclude any deals, at present, because of volatile import price quotations. Moreover, sales volumes are forecast to decline further, in August and September, as warmer temperatures are likely to curb construction activity. Export opportunities are limited outside the GCC region.

South Africa

The South African market is very quiet, with little business activity of any significance taking place during the holiday period. Domestic buyers remark that their suppliers’ current initiatives to lift prices are ill-timed, counterproductive and would only escalate import tonnages. We note little appetite for purchasing, at present, among construction firms. Labour unrest and union difficulties add to the uncertain climate.

Source: MEPS Developing Markets Steel Review

Temporary Safeguard Measures Unsettle EU Steel Market

Global Steel Sector in Turmoil

The implementation of Section 232 by the US authorities has created chaos in steel markets, worldwide. Since the investigation was launched, in April 2017, steel prices have rocketed. MEPS’ reported selling value for the main benchmark product, hot rolled coil, has increased by 40 percent, in North America.

Further tariffs are now being considered, by the US, for imports of a wide range of manufactured goods that have a high steel content. These include automobiles and associated spare parts. Other manufactured goods are under consideration for inclusion in the extended regime.

Numerous retaliatory actions have been announced by trading partners of the US. Furthermore, import restrictions are under consideration, by many national authorities, as they fear the distortion of trade flows. Protectionist measures, which started because of steel imports into the US, may spread around the world and affect a wide range of manufactured goods. This would undo years of careful negotiations towards free trade.

Source: MEPS International Steel Review

People also read:  Temporary Safeguard Measures Unsettle EU Steel Market

Temporary Safeguard Measures Unsettle EU Steel Market

European buyers of strip mill products were purchasing cautiously, in July, due to the uncertainty linked to trade disputes, political upheaval in several countries and proposed mergers within the industry itself. They were also waiting for clarification regarding the European Commission’s safeguarding investigation. The probe is aimed at preventing steel shipments being redirected to the EU market, as a result of the United States’ imposition of import tariffs under Section 232.

On July 18, the EC announced that provisional safeguard measures will be implemented, covering twenty-three steel product categories. A 25 percent tariff will be imposed above a set quota, based on the average import volumes over the past three years.

During July, a degree of price divergence, between the north and south of Europe, was noted. In Italy, local mills successfully reversed the recent negative price trend. In the remainder of the region, basis values remained stable, with slight negative pressure, as steelmakers accepted a rollover, or marginally lower figures, for September deliveries. However, the producers are pushing strongly for a fourth quarter price hike. MEPS noted some initial resistance to this initiative, particularly from service centres, due to their inability to fully pass on previous increases, to their customers.

Nevertheless, the lack of competitively priced third country imports, plus relatively strong underlying demand in most countries, should put regional mills in a strong position. A price recovery is expected to be accepted during negotiations in late July. At that time, customers will need to book tonnages, in order to replenish stocks after the summer vacation.

Source: MEPS – European Steel Review

People also read:  Stainless Steel Continuous Slab Caster Modernized by Primetals Technologies Started up at Outokumpu in Finland

Stainless steel continuous slab caster modernized by Primetals Technologies started up at Outokumpu in Finland

  • Modernization facilitates production of slabs with a thickness of 200 millimeters
  • High-speed casting of austenitic grades is still possible with the new thickness
  • Production capacity rises

In December 2017, the stainless-steel continuous slab caster modernized by Primetals Technologies was started up at Outokumpu’s production site in Tornio, Finland. The aims of the project were to increase the annual production capacity of slabs and to enable thicker slabs of austenitic grades to be cast at high speed. This involved the machine head of the casting plant to be modified to cast slabs with a thickness of 200 millimeters, and the necessary adaptations were also made in the bending section and to the dummy bar system. The order was awarded to Primetals Technologies in the second quarter of 2017.

Outokumpu is one of the world’s leading stainless steel producers with the widest product portfolio in the industry. The company’s products are used in the civilization’s basic structures and its most famous landmarks as well as products for households and various industries. Primetals Technologies installed the initially stainless steel continuous slab caster, together with an electric arc furnace and an AOD converter, in 2002. Until now, the continuous slab caster has produced slabs in widths from 800 to 1,650 millimeters, with a thickness of 185 millimeters. The caster is also equipped with a range of modern technology packages. For example, the world’s first DynaGap Soft Reduction system was installed here in a continuous slab caster for stainless steels.

Primetals Technologies modernized the machine head to enable slabs to be cast with a thickness of 200 millimeters and so to raise the production capacity. The Smart Mold was equipped with new narrow faces, including lateral foot rollers and a new cover. The bending section was fitted with shims suitable for the new slab thickness and the dummy bar system was also adapted. The existing Dynacs cooling model was parameterized for the new casting thickness. The LevCon mold level control was already upgraded in 2016 to include a function to minimize bulging in order to meet higher demands in the future.

Stainless steel-continuous slab caster at Outokumpu’s stainless steel mill in Tornio, Finland. The caster, modernized by Primetals Technologies, was started up in December 2017.
Stainless steel-continuous slab caster at Outokumpu’s stainless steel mill in Tornio, Finland. The caster, modernized by Primetals Technologies, was started up in December 2017.

Primetals Technologies, Limited headquartered in London, United Kingdom is a worldwide leading engineering, plant-building and lifecycle services partner for the metals industry. The company offers a complete technology, product and service portfolio that includes integrated electrics, automation and environmental solutions. This covers every step of the iron and steel production chain, extending from the raw materials to the finished product – in addition to the latest rolling solutions for the nonferrous metals sector. Primetals Technologies is a joint venture of Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI) and Siemens. Mitsubishi-Hitachi Metals Machinery (MHMM) – an MHI consolidated group company with equity participation by Hitachi, Ltd. and the IHI Corporation – holds a 51% stake and Siemens a 49% stake in the joint venture. The company employs around 7,000 employees worldwide. Further information is available on the Internet at www.primetals.com.

Source: Primetals Technologies

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VIZAG STEEL PLANT SUCCESSFULLY COMMISSIONS NEW BLOOM & ROUND COMBI-CASTER FROM SMS CONCAST

RINL’s (Rashtriya Ispat Nigam Ltd.) Visakhapatnam Steel Plant (VSP) has successfully commissioned the new continuous casting machine in Visakhapatnam, India, which was supplied by SMS Concast, a company of SMS group.

With a casting radius of twelve meters, the five-strand continuous casting machine has a rated capacity of one million tons per year, covering a wide range of steel grades from simple carbon grades to grades for ball bearing and seamless tube applications as well as railway wheels.

The new continuous casting machine is enlarging the product range of Vizag Steel by introducing round bloom sections of 410 and 450 millimeters in diameter in addition to the 200 millimeters square sections. The smoothly commissioned casting machine encom­passes all technological features required to produce steel grades for highest quality demands, including a submerged pouring system with electro-mechanical stopper flow control system, hydraulic mold oscillation, mold and final electromagnetic stirrers as well as a product marking system.

The state-of-the-art Level 1 and Level 2 automation systems ensure efficient operation of the continuous casting machine with minimized personnel requirements, while controlling and monitoring all required process parameters and capturing all key product data for digital production and quality tracking.

With this new state-of-the-art equipment, Vizag Steels will be able to further strengthen its position in the Special Bar Quality (SBQ) market.

“Thanks to the very successful cooperation with SMS Concast, we now operate a continuous casting machine of the latest technology specifically designed to meet our high quality standards,” says Mr. P.C. Mohapatra – Director (Projects) at Vizag Steels.

 

Source: SMS Group

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