The Brazilian steel industry remains upbeat over the general outlook for 2014. Long product steelmakers have adopted more aggressive pricing positions. Local stockists have resumed monitoring the domestic-import price differential as a result. The steel distributors association (Inda) has reported that imports of flat steel products totalled 123,780 tonnes in February – an increase of 7.7 percent compared with the corresponding period last year.
Russian trading houses have queried whether the latest domestic steel price levels are supported by market and economic fundamentals. Active buyers are booking for only immediate requirements due to continuing price fluctuations. Shipments to tube fabricators, OEMs and mechanical engineering companies have performed below expectations.
Indian distributors remain cautious about the strength of underlying consumption in the April-June period. Deliveries to downstream industries were disrupted by the Holi festival and the close proximity of the general election.
The Chinese steel industry expects the second quarter to be a challenging trading period. Profit margins have been eroded by the ongoing overcapacity problem and the volatility of raw material prices. The China Iron & Steel Association (CISA) has reported that the aggregate daily output of crude steel by the leading mills in the first ten days of March totalled 2.097 million tonnes – an increase of 0.6 percent compared with the corresponding period in 2013.