Category Archives: USA Steel

Steel Prices in the United States at Ten-Year High

The impact of 25 percent tariffs on imports of steel into the United States has been significantly eroded by the domestic mill price increases. Clearly, this situation would not have been anticipated at the beginning of the initiative.

The MEPS North American Average Flat Products selling figure increased by 34 percent, since the start of the year. In Western Europe, the steel price recovery, in US dollar terms, was just 3.5 percent over the same period. In Asia, an upturn of 6.5 percent was recorded.

How can the authorities in the United States square this circle? It is clear that, on a cost basis, domestic steel users will be in a position to return to purchasing from outside the country. This was not the original plan when the Section 232 plan was devised.

The answer will rest with the domestic steel producers. Overseas suppliers are likely to maintain their current offer prices. It will require action from the local steelmakers. This would, almost certainly, require them to adopt a different strategy to the one currently in place.

Source: MEPS International Steel Review

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US Steel Industry Protection Measures are Increasing Domestic Inflation

The concept of imposing a 25 percent tariff on steel imports into the United States appears to be a good way to protect the local steel industry. Unfortunately, this action has generated unintended consequences for consumers. Domestic steel prices have increased significantly, since the start of the year. US steel producers are taking advantage of the reduced import threat by increasing their selling values to consumers and service centres. Local manufacturers in steel intensive industries have, already, seen their input costs rise significantly.

Impact on Industry

MEPS calculates that the cost of steel supplied to autobody parts makers, in North America, increased by 22 percent during the first five months of the year. The figure for the construction industry is even greater, at 25 percent. Companies providing household appliances report a similar increase. The situation is even more dramatic for US companies which utilise large quantities of steel in their manufacturing processes. These include shipbuilders and suppliers of shipping containers, which have been subject to steel price increases of 43 and 36 percent respectively, so far this year.

SOURCE: MEPS International Steel Review

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 FLAT PRODUCT STEEL PRICES ESCALATE IN JANUARY

US flat product transaction values advanced, in January, to halt the negative pressure on steel prices for much of last year.

In December, North American steel mills announced price hikes of up to US$40 per short ton. Local producers escalated list prices for a second time, this month, following higher scrap prices.

In January’s edition of the International Steel Review, MEPS reports that higher transaction values have been noted as customers restock following the seasonal holidays. Buyers may not accept further increases as delivery lead times remain short.

In China, flat products selling values strengthened in early January as major producers announced increases. However, domestic transaction values softened recently as the Lunar New Year approaches.

High import penetration of Chinese exports have put further negative pressure on domestic South Korean transaction prices.

In Poland, selling figures stabilised, this month, despite market activity remaining muted following the Christmas holidays. In contrast, Czech/Slovak transaction values fell further as local producers offered discounted prices to secure orders.

Source: MEPS International Steel Review – January Issue

INTERNATIONAL STEEL MARKET ROUNDUP FROM MEPS

World steel prices have plummeted by 28 percent in the past twelve months, according to MEPS.

In November’s release of the International Steel Review, MEPS reports that international market activity for both flat and long products is weak as the influx of Chinese material continues to put downward pressure on global steel prices.

We have noted that Chinese export prices are at record lows. This, along with falling raw material costs, has enabled buyers in Taiwan and South Korea to secure reductions in their local market.

There is growing evidence that European steel mills are looking to fill spare capacity but activity is slow amid market uncertainty in the energy and construction sectors.

In the US, short lead times are being offered by producers as buyers delay purchasing decisions due to falling steel prices. Customers are prioritising their year-end stock positions.

Furthermore, buyers worldwide are expecting further steel price falls with little sign of a market pickup heading into the new year.

Source: MEPS – International Steel Review

Higher flexibility, lower energy input and wider product range

SMS group has successfully completed the modernization of the CSP® plant (Compact Strip Production) at Nucor Steel in Berkeley, South Carolina, U.S.A.

The objective of the modernization was to upgrade the double-strand CSP® plant, supplied by SMS group in 1996, to the grown requirements of the market. With an increased final strip width of 1,880 millimeters (formerly 1,680 millimeters), Nucor Steel now operates one of the widest CSP® plants in the world. At Nucor, SMS group for the first time implemented a new modernization concept designed to expand the product range and reduce energy consumption at the same time.

The implemented measures comprised the revamp of one of the two CSP® casters, the extension of the CSP® rolling mill, renewal of the X-Pact® electrical and automation systems and, as a premiere, the installation of an induction heating system from SMS Elotherm, (www.sms-elotherm.com), upstream of the CSP® rolling mill.

The CSP® caster was fitted with new molds, a new four-cylinder oscillation system, wider segments, and a new bending and straightening unit. Thanks to the implementation of the Liquid Core Reduction (LCR 3) module in the containment zone, the thickness of the thin slabs can be infinitely adjusted between 48 and 63 millimeters.

SMS group added a seventh finishing stand to the CSP® rolling mill. The new stand features CVC® plus technology, like the stands F1 through F6. The CSP® rolling mill also received a new X-Pact® level-2 automation system including profile, contour and flatness control systems as well as a cooling model.

With the installation of an induction heating system between the CSP® furnace and the CSP® rolling mill, SMS group implemented a future-oriented modernization concept at Nucor Steel. By means of the induction heating units supplied by SMS Elotherm, it is now possible to increase as required the temperature of the thin slabs right before they run into the rolling mill. This enables Nucor Steel to achieve greater reductions per pass and expand its mix of products in the thin gage range.

An additional benefit of the inductive heating systems is the fact that the energy consumption of the CSP® plant can be even further reduced. By flexibly adjusting the thin slab temperature prior to rolling, the furnace temperature can now be lowered to a level suitable for rolling the major part of the steel grades and strip gages without compromising process stability or the product quality. For all strips requiring a higher entry temperature, the inductive heating systems will be there to provide the extra heating. By means of this concept, it is possible to achieve both the extensive product range typical of the CSP® technology and marked savings on energy.

Source: SMS Group

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