Tag Archives: imports


Italian hot rolled coil prices have decreased, in September, according to MEPS. Distributors and end-users are already starting to reduce inventories for the end of year. They will only buy for immediate needs. Domestic suppliers have been forced to align their selling values with import offers.

Hot rolled plate re-rollers are beset with problems as export markets are depressed. Moreover, transport costs prevent them from selling in the higher demand region of northern Europe. Falling slab costs, together with low import offers, will, no doubt, influence future pricing policies.

Cold rolled coil basis figures have declined. Large quantities of third country material have arrived in the country. Service centres report that demand has been reasonable since the return from the summer holidays as auto and white goods activity picked up, albeit from a low level. However, resale customers continue to push for bigger discounts.

Structural sections transaction values have stabilised, after falling in July, despite negative movements in the scrap market. The construction sector is suffering from a lack of investment in major infrastructure projects. Purchasing activity has been slow since the return from the holidays.

Demand for rebar remains light after the holidays. A lack of export opportunities has put further downward pressure on domestic basis values. Meanwhile, merchant bar buyers have secured a marginal price reduction during recent negotiations.

Source: MEPS – European Steel Review – September 2015 Issue


Despite strengthening demand in a number of west European countries, flat product domestic selling values are being negatively influenced by the availability of very low-priced third country import offers. Cheaper raw material and energy costs are contributing to the situation. Market sources are quite pessimistic about the coming months. As a result, buyers expect further price reductions.

In Germany, the auto sector continues to perform well but has slowed a little, as a result of a fall in sales to China, brought about by currency exchange rate changes. The construction industry is also slowing as the winter season approaches. Service centre stocks are quite full after the holidays. However, end-users are only taking what they need for immediate use, as they anticipate even lower prices in the future. Consequently, resale values are under pressure.

The French market was muted at the beginning of September. Activity was expected to pick up, slightly, towards the end of the month, due to restocking. Market participants foresee their order books at similar levels to those in previous months. They believe that the difficult situation in China and other regions represent a threat. Producers have tried to resist negative price pressure with mixed results.

The Italian steel market has deteriorated over the summer, leading to feelings of insecurity amongst buyers and sellers alike, despite signs of some small recovery in the general economic situation. Cheap imported material is the major disruptive factor. On the demand side, the auto sector is performing well, thanks to investment in new models. The mechanical engineering segment saw some improvements at the start of the summer. Service centres report that their sales volumes are positive, compared with earlier in the year, but resale prices are poor. Competition in that sector is severe.

In the UK, distributors report that demand has remained good but that their buying prices have fallen, for the fourth quarter. Resale values have moved down, slowly and steadily, in tandem with mill figures. Service centre inventories are low relative to demand. Traders’ stocks at the docks are also depleted as caution prevails.

Prices remain on a slow, downward trend in Belgium. Turkish and Chinese imports are available. Even if customers do not purchase this cheap material, because of the long delivery lead time involved, they use the low figures in negotiations with their European suppliers in order to obtain discounts. Companies do not need to build stocks as steel can be acquired very quickly.

A massive increase in the availability of cheap third country imports occurred in the Spanish market during the summer. This has led to a series of domestic basis price reductions for November rollings of all flat products. As there is still a large differential between local and foreign figures, buyers expect further discounting for December. Underlying demand is reasonable. There has been a sharp impact on distributors’ resale values since July. Margins have been squeezed.

Source: MEPS – European Steel Review – September 2015 Issue


UK steel industry analysts, MEPS, reports that, in October, a profound change developed in the relationship between Chinese export steel prices and domestic selling values in the rest of the world.

According to the company’s latest report, CHINA STEEL REVIEW, Chinese exporters lowered their steel prices last month for most rolled steel products. The median reduction was US$13 per tonne. However, average domestic selling figures in North America decreased by US$17 per tonne in the same period. Local average steel selling values in the European Union decreased by US$27 per tonne and those in East Asia fell by US$35 in October.

The differential between Chinese export delivered prices and domestic selling values is a key item in the decision making process to purchase from China. Improved quality from Chinese mills has also, however, played its part.

It is possible that, in the near future, China’s steel products could become less attractive to buyers in the industrialised countries of the world, particularly, if their steel market conditions deteriorate further.

Total Chinese exports of all steel products, including tubes and semi-finished goods, totalled 51.54 million tonnes in the first eight months of this year. This represents an increase of 36 percent on the outturn in 2013. Foreign supplies of the nine finished rolled steel mill products, which had not undergone further processing, were recorded at 44.2 million tonnes – up by almost 45 percent in the same period.

The most popular finished rolled steel products for export remain hot rolled coil, wire rod and merchant bar. Statistics for the latter item are dubious, because it is widely believed that a proportion of billet sales were recorded as merchant bar in the official documentation to avoid export taxes. The tonnage sold under the banner of merchant bar has increased by approximately 75 percent so far this year. This figure is almost double the average increase for all the other products.

The Chinese mills were able to lift their sales volumes of rolled steel products because of their ability to compete on price with other manufacturers around the world. This developed despite the cost of freight and extended period of time for delivery. A change to this situation may be on the horizon. Chinese steel exports may decline in 2015. Watch this space.

Source: MEPS China Steel Review – October Edition


According to MEPS, import volumes of hot rolled coil, in South Korea, are soaring at the same time as domestic output escalates as Posco’s new hot strip mill comes on stream. This, combined with sluggish demand, is creating negative price pressure. However, after conceding a large discount in September, local producers have managed to maintain selling values.

In September, domestic shipbuilders fell behind their Japanese rivals in winning new orders for the third time this year, disadvantaged by the weakening yen. Local selling values for commodity plate have come under further pressure, down by 2.5 percent since our last report. There is severe internal competition, together with attractive import offers.

Although sales, of cold rolled coil, to local distributors are poor, demand from the automakers has picked up as their output revives. However, there is strong competition from Chinese cold rolled coil imports, which continue to swell in volume. During recent negotiations, customers have won another decrease.

Domestic car sales are improving, where auto output rose again in September, year-on-year. Export business is also healthy. However, there has been no substantial revival in construction demand for coated steel and the local electronics industry remains dull. Steelmakers have been forced to accept lower prices in the general market.

September’s rise in the wire rod market proved to be short lived. Selling values have now reverted to their recent downward tendency, in a lethargic trading environment.

Hyundai has failed in its efforts to lift its structural section selling values by the proposed KRW30,000 per tonne, but customers have accepted a portion of the rise. There is still a threat from Chinese exporters, despite the instigation of an anti-dumping investigation.

Declining scrap costs have encouraged Hyundai Steel, to cut rebar list prices by KRW5000 per tonne for fourth quarter contracts. In the marketplace, last month’s small improvement lasted a short time. Demand remains slow and selling figures have lost 3.3 percent.

Source: MEPS International Steel Review – October Issue


Negotiated price settlement values, for hot rolled coil, were unchanged in India according to MEPS (International) Ltd. Stockists report that the domestic market is oversupplied. Imports have only exacerbated the situation. Offers from Asian suppliers of commercial grade coil for September shipment stood at US$520/530 per tonne CFR (excluding 7.5 percent import duty and port handling expenses).

In the commodity plate market, buying sentiment has failed to improve. Distributors have reported low trading volumes in the states of Haryana and Maharashtra. Quotations from Asian hot rolled plate suppliers for September shipment stood at US$530/545 per tonne CFR (excluding import duty).

Cold rolled coil purchasing activity remains subdued. Quotations from Asian steel suppliers, for September delivery, stood at US$605/615 per tonne CFR (excluding 7.5 percent import duty and port handling expenses) – up 0.8 percent, month-on-month. Effective transaction values, for galvanised coil, were stable over the period under review.

Monsoon rains have continued to constrain construction activity in the central, northern and southern states. Rashtriya Ispat Nigam Ltd (RINL) elected to maintain its August basis selling figure, for wire rod, at Rs42,230 per tonne (excluding all taxes). Business activity has been slow in the Indian sections market.

Reinforcing bar transaction values edged higher after the country’s Independence Day. Secondary producers based in Central and Western states are operating at less than 50 percent production capacity.

Merchant bar stockists report that there is little appetite for purchasing at present amongst local construction firms. Secondary mill quotations continued to shadow the cost of steelmaking raw materials – particularly, pencil ingots, sponge iron and ferrous scrap.

Source: MEPS Developing Markets Steel Review

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US flat product transaction values are currently slightly lower than those reported in June, according to MEPS. However, some minor upward pressure has been noted in recent weeks. Mills in the mid-west still have relatively long delivery lead times due to supply problems earlier in the year plus scheduled outages at US Steel and ArcelorMittal. Moreover, there is excellent demand from the auto sector. Manufacturing is strengthening and construction is improving. Although overseas material is very International Steel Reviewcompetitively priced at present, possible protectionist moves by the US government are creating a great deal of caution amongst both traders and potential customers, regarding forward ordering of material from third countries, primarily China.

With the exception of hot rolled coil, Canadian transaction figures are holding firm but there are some mitigating factors. The reline of ArcelorMittal’s Chicago furnace has led to orders being moved to Dofasco, pushing delivery lead times out by two to three weeks. Demand remains sluggish and cheaper, offshore material has arrived, with more to come. Inventories remain on the low side.

There is still a supply glut in China as production remains high. Consequently, prices have continued to head downwards since MEPS last report. However, overall inventory levels declined in June. A recent stimulus plan, combined with new infrastructure projects, is expected to support steel consumption over the coming months. Export volumes continue to grow, year-on-year, as producers cut overseas quotations to boost trade.

As the economic recovery continues in Japan, domestic order intake rose in May, year-on-year, allaying fears that April’s increase in consumption tax would cause serious damage to steel consumption. In contrast, export volumes were still declining. Imports continue to grow, despite a weak yen. Flat product market prices are firm.

Stagnant demand and oversupply have led to discounting in South Korea. Economic forecasts have predicted a slowing of growth in the second half of 2014. This creates a gloomy outlook for the steelmakers who are also having to contend with a great deal of import competition. The mills are looking to overseas markets to offload their surplus capacity.

In Taiwan, major integrated producer, CSC, will leave domestic list prices for September contracts unchanged after decreasing them for the July/August period. The third quarter is, traditionally, a time of low demand because of the rainy season in South East Asia. However, the company has started to see signs of recovery and does not think it is necessary to cut prices further.

Polish activity is no better ahead of the summer vacation. Due to changes in the exchange rate, effective values have increased slightly in the local currency. This represents unchanged prices in euro equivalent terms. The Czech economy is slowly recovering, as is consumer confidence. Steel output is expanding as industrial sectors show signs of growth. However, selling values remain under negative pressure.

Activity in the West European market is quiet ahead of the holidays. Although consumption is strengthening in several countries and economic indicators are good, producers, keen to book orders, have agreed further small price reductions. Customers point out that the mills have relatively low raw material costs and cheaper third country imports are readily available.

Source: MEPS International Steel Review – July issue