Demand on South Korea’s hot rolled coil mills is subdued, amidst an inflow of low-priced imports from China and a slowing economic recovery. According to MEPS, during recent settlements, domestic steelmakers have agreed to further discounts.
Demand from shipyards is forecast to be generally flat, for the remainder of 2015. Sales to the construction sector are also poor and inventories at the distributors are excessive. There is severe internal competition for the little business available and attractively priced import offers are being made. We have noted a further downward price correction for commodity plate.
Poor domestic consumption, combined with strong rivalry from Chinese suppliers, has forced cold rolled coil producers to concede further discounts. The vehicle manufacturers are pushing for large price reductions as their sales are far from robust. Demand for cold rolled coil from other market sectors is also depressed.
Vehicle output fell again in March, year-on-year. Car exports suffered because of competition from Japanese manufacturers who had the advantage of a weaker yen. Building demand for coated material has also shown no substantial revival but forecasts, for later in the year, indicate better conditions. Steelmakers have been forced to offer a small incentive for the fourth month in a row.
Foreign suppliers are taking an increasing share of the H-beam market in South Korea. The country’s steelmakers are urging the government to initiate an anti-dumping investigation into imports from China. Poor sentiment in the building sector, together with high volumes of cheap overseas material, have led to another negative price movement.
Rebar selling figures have slipped, once again. The negative movement has been caused by poor demand from a depressed building sector and highly attractive offers from Chinese suppliers. Forecasters are still predicting improved sales in the coming months.