Category Archives: Emerging Markets Steel Prices

Section 232 Continues to Cast a Shadow Over Emerging Steel Markets


Brazilian steelmakers are optimistic about the strength of domestic consumption in 2018, highlighting improving market fundamentals in both the local and global steel markets. Additionally, Brazilian exports to the United States are temporarily exempt from measures related to the Section 232 investigation.


Negotiations in the Russian Federation remain arduous. Trading houses continue to be frustrated with the pricing positions adopted by their domestic suppliers. The latest initiative is viewed as unwarranted and not supported by underlying demand.


The Indian steel industry is forecasting that underlying demand will remain strong until mid-June, supported by government infrastructure spending and strengthening consumer demand. Nonetheless, MEPS notes growing resistance from end-users to the recent price increases. Moreover, the Modi government signalled it planned to formally lodge a trade dispute against the United States, at the World Trade Organisation (WTO), if the Trump administration does not exempt Indian steel goods from rising tariffs.


Supply chain participants report no changes to business activity, in the Ukrainian steel market. Stockists are concerned about carrying too much inventory over the next two months, fearing a downward price correction. Export activity is stable, with prices under renewed negative pressure following developments in the Chinese market.


End-user demand in Turkey is tepid, disrupted by Mustafa Kemal Atatürk (National Sovereignty and Children’s Day), and renewed political uncertainty. Presidential and parliamentary elections are scheduled for June. The depreciation of the Turkish lira against the US dollar further exacerbated the situation. Scrap brokers predict that the domestic mills will try to push scrap prices down again in the near future, as both export and local demand remains slow.


Challenging business conditions persist, in the United Arab Emirates. Distributors are adopting a “wait-and-see” attitude, expecting purchasing activity to slow down ahead of the festive month of Ramadan. However, the outlook for the remainder of 2018 is positive, after the announcement of new commercial, residential and infrastructure projects, in Dubai and Abu Dhabi. Outside the GCC region, export opportunities are limited.

South Africa

South Africa’s Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) failed to persuade the US government to exempt the country’s steel and aluminium exports, from the tariffs, stipulated in the Section 232 proclamation. In further submissions, the ministry proposed a settlement based on 70 percent of the 2017 exports as a quota to the US. South Korea negotiated a similar quota arrangement with provisions, in late March.


Mexican steel traders retain a cautious outlook for the second quarter. Downstream buying activity is unsettled by the aggressive pricing strategies adopted by domestic suppliers. Moreover, developments across the border in the United States continue to be watched carefully. Meanwhile, the National Chamber of Iron and Steel Industry (CANACERO) pressed the government for additional measures to protect the domestic manufacturing and steel industries from foreign competition.

Section 232 Reservations Unsettle the Emerging Steel Markets

The trading climate in the Brazilian steel market is unchanged since our February report. Risk-averse traders plan to retain minimum inventory in the interim, highlighting that the recent upward trend in local mill transaction values is unsustainable.

The business environment is challenging, in the Russia. Distributors conveyed frustration with the price increases proposed by their domestic suppliers. The latest initiative is viewed as unjustified and is not supported by underlying demand. We note a reluctance on the part of end-users to commit to forward orders.

Challenging trading conditions persist, in India. Bearish stockists are reluctant to sign contracts with the mills at the moment. Uncertainties persist regarding the sustainability of the latest price increases. Correspondingly, end-users are adopting a wait-and-see approach.

The trading atmosphere is unchanged, in Ukraine. Stockists plan to postpone purchases until the pricing scenario is more transparent. We note little appetite for purchasing at present amongst construction firms.

In Turkey, buyers are reluctant to purchase as they would like to get a clearer picture of the market. Speculation is rife that local steelmakers will persevere with aggressive pricing positions, in April. Meanwhile, Turkish exporters conveyed disappointment after the US Department of Commerce released its wire rod investigation findings. Wire rod products from Turkey were found to have received countervailing subsidies from the government.

Business sentiment is unchanged, in the United Arab Emirates. Distributors are holding off purchasing to see how demand develops. Moreover, Emirati rolling mills kept selling figures unchanged for April’s production programme. Export opportunities remain limited outside the GCC region.

South Africa’s Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) has stressed that the country’s steel and aluminium exports do not represent a threat to either US industry or jobs. As a result, the DTI made a formal submission for exemption status, in accordance with the Section 232 proclamation. Meanwhile, the South African Iron and Steel Institute (SAISI) and the Steel and Engineering Federation of Southern Africa (SEIFSA) highlighted that the exclusion from the US market put an estimated 310,000, steel related, jobs at risk.

In Mexico, distributors and service centres struggle to adapt to the unpredictable business environment. The majority are booking for immediate requirements only, due to continuing price fluctuations. The National Chamber of Iron and Steel Industry (CANACERO) welcomed the US government’s decision to temporarily exempt Mexican steelmakers from the Section 232 import tariff. However, the association expressed concern that the exemption is not permanent, and is being used as part of the re-negotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).

Source: MEPS – Developing Markets Steel Review – March 2018 Edition

Emerging Market Steel Producers Strive to Hold the Line on Prices

Brazilian steelmakers attempted to push through a price increase for October’s production campaign. Distributors and end-users condemned the latest initiative as “unwarranted”, considering the relatively quiet business conditions and soft economic fundamentals. Buyers are increasingly interested in purchasing third country material. Flat product suppliers are focusing on overseas sales.

Russian trading houses believe that price cuts are likely, in the short term, citing the close proximity to the end of the country’s construction season. End-users are keeping stock levels very low and only purchasing what is absolutely necessary, as a result. Export business is still slack, forcing producers to lower their export price quotations.

In the Indian steel market, sales volumes and selling figures remain subdued. Local trading houses are expected to persevere with cautious procurement strategies next month, in anticipation of weak shipments to the construction sector and other downstream industries. Third country import offers are available but buyers show little interest.

Business activity in Ukraine remains reasonable. Transaction values moved up, due to concerted efforts by the mills to cover their production costs. Nevertheless, local stockists are keeping inventories well under control. The year-end seasonal slowdown in demand is expected to begin, next month.

Procurement activity in Turkey was less vigorous, this month, than in September. Flat product selling values declined, owing to soft end-user demand, lower import quotations and decreasing raw material costs. Long product suppliers had mixed success in stemming the downward movement in prices. They supplemented poor domestic sales with increased shipments to overseas customers – particularly, in Southeast Asia.

Downstream demand for finished steel in the United Arab Emirates fell below market projections. Distributors are tightly controlling inventory levels because they expect the negative price trend to continue. Availability of foreign material at the ports is plentiful. Moreover, a pickup in shipments to the building sector is unlikely, in the short term.

Trading conditions are still lacklustre in the South African market. Service centres report that profit margins are being squeezed. With prices continuing to move up, traders are only buying what they need. The construction sector continues to suffer from a shortage of public and private investment.

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


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


According to MEPS, Brazilian service centres are concerned that the latest domestic price levels are not supported by market and economic fundamentals. Presently, most firms are purchasing material only on a requirement basis.

Challenging business conditions persist in the Russian Federation. Trading houses expressed bearish views over the growth prospects for domestic steel consumption in the February-April period.

The outlook for the Indian steel market is unchanged. Distributors remain divided about the government’s decision to extend the minimum import price (MIP), which elapses on February 4. Currently, nineteen products are covered by the framework.

Ukrainian steelmakers are divided over the growth prospects for the long products segments in 2017. In the past twelve months, underlying demand for finished steel products has consistently fallen short of industry projections – particularly, from construction firms and pipe fabricators.

Business confidence deteriorated in Turkey, this month. Local stockists contend that the re-emergence of price volatility in domestic quotations has made it a high risk to complete deals at this stage. The situation has been exacerbated by the strength of the US dollar against the Turkish lira and weak economic fundamentals.

The trading environment is unchanged in the United Arab Emirates. Local service centres are extremely reluctant to purchase material in what they deem as precarious business conditions.

South African distributors plan to persevere with conservative procurement strategies, next month. Shipments to the construction and infrastructure projects remain scarce. End-users intend to steer clear of substantial flat product purchases in the interim.

The outlook for the Mexican steel market is unchanged. Flat product spot market sales decreased. Bearish buyers are reluctant to purchase at current transaction values. The strong US dollar against the Mexican peso is also having a negative effect on sales.

Source: MEPS – Developing Markets Steel Review – January Edition


According to MEPS International Ltd, the Brazilian steel industry has struggled to adapt to the unpredictable business environment. Bearish distributors plan to persevere with conservative purchasing strategies, in November, citing price volatility and weak economic fundamentals.

Russian steel producers are divided over the prospects for domestic steel consumption in the final trimester of 2016. Predictably, distributors and end-users are reluctant to commit to forward orders. Long products’ steelmakers have downgraded their November basis quotations, as a result.

Indian brokers are optimistic that sales volumes will improve after the festival season (October to November). These firms are booking for immediate requirements only, due to continuing price fluctuations. General sentiment regarding the new minimum import price mandate and provisional safeguard duties are unchanged. The measures have been held responsible for the latest price initiative undertaken by primary steelmakers.

Business confidence remains unsettled in Turkey. Local service centres are extremely reluctant to purchase material in, what they deem as, precarious trading conditions.

Price volatility continues to hamper sales volumes in the United Arab Emirates. Additionally, state-funded construction and infrastructure activity remains sparse. Despite this, Emirati rolling mills opted to, marginally, increase their selling figures for November production, amidst the higher cost of key steelmaking raw materials and reduced price competition from foreign suppliers.

Mexican service centres have, once again, started to query whether the latest domestic price levels are supported by market and economic fundamentals. Several buyers are forecasting additional price concessions from domestic suppliers next month.

Source: MEPS – Developing Markets Steel Review – October Edition