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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


Brazilian distributors have condemned the latest upward mill price offers given the current trading climate. They are forecasting an upturn in import tonnages as a result.

The business climate in the Russian Federation remains arduous. Trading houses are divided over the outlook for domestic steel quotations in the September-October period.

The trading environment is unchanged in India. Stockists plan to postpone purchases until the pricing scenario is more transparent. We note little appetite for purchasing at present amongst construction firms. Importers remain highly critical of the government’s decision to renew its minimum import price mandates and instigate new provisional safeguard duties.

Chinese traders plan to persevere with cautious procurement strategies, next month, despite it traditionally being the peak season for steel consumption. The majority stress that the recent upward trend in domestic mill transaction values is unsustainable and does not reflect real demand. Support from export customers is mixed.

Ukrainian steelmakers struggled to adapt to the current domestic trading environment. Shipments to industrial companies, in August, were weaker than forecast, particularly to tube and pipe fabricators.

In Turkey, the domestic steelmakers failed to enforce price rises in weeks 31 and 32, despite a speculative rebound in the cost of ferrous scrap and billet. End-user groups are only purchasing material for immediate needs.

Demand for construction steel in the United Arab Emirates remains muted. Domestic steelmakers are finding it difficult to obtain a satisfactory price for their September rolling campaigns. Risk-adverse traders plan to retain minimum inventory in the interim.

Underlying demand in South Africa has weakened and shows no signs of picking up in the near future. End-users remain adamant that local price quotations are too high.

Buying sentiment is unchanged in Mexico. Stockists intend to maintain their conservative inventory levels and closely monitor the domestic/import price premium. The recent depreciation of the national currency against the US dollar has only exacerbated the situation. The National Chamber of Iron and Steel Industry (CANACERO) has welcomed the Ministry of Economy’s decision to set antidumping duties on wire rod and coated flat steel imports.

Source: MEPS – Developing Markets Steel Review – August Edition