Tag Archives: Steel News

Slow Seasonal Demand and Trade Sanctions Affect Steel Prices in Emerging Markets

Mexico

Mexican steelmakers continually pressed for increased prices, in July, but mills offered a degree of flexibility and discounting when deals were finalised. The recent depreciation of the national currency against the US dollar has exacerbated the situation. Meanwhile, the National Chamber of Iron and Steel Industry (CANACERO) lobbied the new government for tougher measures to protect the manufacturing and steel industries from foreign competition. The previous Peña Nieto administration imposed commercial import duties on US goods totalling US$3 billion.

Brazil

Brazilian steelmakers struggled to raise transaction values to distributors, in July. End-users remain risk averse. The majority plan to continue with cautious purchasing strategies. Price support from export demand is limited.

Russia

Russian trading houses plan to persevere with conservative inventory levels, reflecting a seasonal slowdown in end-user demand. They expect domestic suppliers will concede further price reductions, to fill their rolling schedules. Meanwhile, Russian steelmakers criticised the European Union’s decision to impose restrictions on imports of steel goods, this month.

India

Demand is tepid throughout India. Sales volumes have slowed in the country’s northern and central states. Stockists operating in these regions have begun to offer discounts to facilitate deals. Traditionally, the monsoon season ends in September. Both primary and secondary steel producers were wary to offer price reductions and more favourable payment terms, fearing such measures would be counterproductive.

Ukraine

The Ukrainian steel market is described as “steady but slow”, as the summer commences. Manufacturing activity has improved, although businesses are still reluctant to invest. The mills are targeting overseas markets to offload their surplus output.

Turkey

Difficult business conditions persist in Turkey. Producers would like to implement a domestic price advance, citing the depreciation of the Turkish lira against the US dollar and rising international prices, but, so far, this has not proved possible. Sales to end-users and distributors remain tepid.

United Arab Emirates

Emirati service centres are wary of carrying too much inventory during the summer months. They note that it is risky to conclude any deals, at present, because of volatile import price quotations. Moreover, sales volumes are forecast to decline further, in August and September, as warmer temperatures are likely to curb construction activity. Export opportunities are limited outside the GCC region.

South Africa

The South African market is very quiet, with little business activity of any significance taking place during the holiday period. Domestic buyers remark that their suppliers’ current initiatives to lift prices are ill-timed, counterproductive and would only escalate import tonnages. We note little appetite for purchasing, at present, among construction firms. Labour unrest and union difficulties add to the uncertain climate.

Source: MEPS Developing Markets Steel Review

Temporary Safeguard Measures Unsettle EU Steel Market

Primetals Technologies supplies new Arvedi ESP line to Henan Yaxin

  • Casting-rolling plant produces high-quality, ultra-thin strip to enter new market segments
  • Rolling of reproducible strip thicknesses down to 0.8 mm
  • Total production capacity of 1.6 million tons per year with potential for 2.5 million tons per year
  • Energy consumption and related costs are reduced by up to 45% compared to conventional casting and rolling processes
  • First mini mill combination of Quantum EAF and ESP with major reduction in CO2 and NOx emissions

Chinese steel producer Henan Yaxin Steel Group Co., Ltd. (Henan Yaxin) has placed an order with Primetals Technologies for the supply of an Arvedi ESP (Endless Strip Production) line. The casting-rolling facility will be part of a new steelmaking facility currently under construction in Fuding City, Fujian province . The liquid steel will be produced by two EAF Quantum electric arc furnaces ordered from Primetals Technologies earlier this year.

The Arvedi ESP line has a design capacity of 1.6 million metric tons per year with the potential to produce later 2.5 million tons per year. It is capable of rolling strip to a reproducible strip thicknesses down to 0.8 mm. This will enable Henan Yaxin to produce high-quality, ultra-thin strip to enter new market segments. Compared to conventional casting and rolling processes, energy consumption and the related costs are reduced by up to 45%. This also results in a major reduction in CO2 and NOx emissions, minimizing environmental impact. This is the first environmental friendly mini mill installation worldwide where EAF Quantum and Arvedi ESP are combined. The plant is scheduled to go into operation in 2020.

The privately-owned company Henan Yaxin operates integrated and compact steelmaking plants in five provinces and cities in China, and can produce more than ten million metric tons of steel each year. The Arvedi ESP plant will allow Henan Yaxin to better serve the highly attractive local and export markets for high-quality, thin-gauge strip products. The 180-meter-long plant is far more compact than conventional casting and rolling mills. The new plant is designed for an annual production capacity of 2.5 million tons of high-quality, ultra-thin, hot-rolled strip products with widths of up to 1,600 mm and thicknesses down to 0.8 mm. Carbon steels, high-strength low alloyed (HSLA) grades and dual-phase steels will be produced.

Primetals Technologies is responsible for the engineering of the Arvedi ESP plant and will supply mechanical equipment, media-control systems, technological packages and automation systems. The entire line is controlled by a completely integrated basic (Level 1) and process optimization (Level 2) automation, which fully controls all casting and rolling operations.

In the Arvedi ESP process, hot-rolled coils are produced in a linked casting and rolling plant directly from liquid steel in a continuous and uninterrupted manufacturing process. The line commences with the casting of a thin strand that is subsequently rolled to an intermediate thickness of 8 to 20 mm in a 3-stand high-reduction mill positioned at the end of the caster. After reheating in an induction heater, rolling of the transfer bar to the targeted end thickness is performed in a 5-stand finishing mill followed by laminar strip cooling. Strip cutting is then carried out by means of a high-speed shear immediately prior to coiling to coil weights of up to 32 metric tons. The full range of steel grades can be flexibly produced on Arvedi ESP plants.

As a result of the endless strip-production mode of Arvedi ESP lines, repeated threading into the individual rolling stands is not necessary. This is the basis for the production of ultra-thin strip gauges down to 0.8 mm thicknesses. The tolerance values for the required strip geometry are fully met along the entire length of the rolled product. Endless production is also decisive for assuring the homogeneity of the steel microstructure, grain size, yield strength and tensile strength. Because the strip is continually under tension, the cobble rate is below 0.1%, even when producing more than 50% below 1.2 mm thickness. Yield values exceeding 98% are reached because cropping of the strip head and tail ends is not necessary.

Arvedi ESP plant in operation

Source:  Primetals Technologies

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Trade War Speculation Unsettles Emerging Steel Markets

Brazil

Challenging business conditions persist in Brazil. Domestic buyers remark that the current initiative to lift prices is ill-timed, counterproductive and would only escalate import tonnages.

Russia

Russian trading houses are booking for only immediate requirements due to price fluctuations and working capital problems. Activity deteriorated further, once the 2018 FIFA World Cup started. Shipments to construction and infrastructure projects remain steady, but demand from the commercial and private residential building sector is weak. End-users continue to experience financial problems.

India

In India, steel distributors, operating in southern states, witnessed a fall in business activity with the early onset of the monsoon season. Buyers are reluctant to purchase finished steel material and are waiting for prices to decline. Meanwhile, the Modi government announced that it will impose retaliatory tariffs on US finished steel goods (effective August 4).

Ukraine

The prognosis for the Ukrainian steel market is unchanged. Bearish dealers prefer to wait and observe the current market situation. Buying sentiment is shaped by expectations of further price fluctuations. Exporters lifted selling figures, actioned by an upturn in the cost of billet, slab and steelmaking raw materials.

Turkey

Challenging trading conditions persist in Turkey. Deliveries to downstream steel consuming industries remain slow, amid weak post-Ramadan demand growth and political uncertainty stemming from the country’s presidential and parliamentary elections. Additionally, exporters report that the tariffs on steel, imposed by the United States, have increased the competitiveness of their finished steel products, relative to their Canadian, Mexican and European counterparts.

UAE

Emirati service centres are extremely reluctant to purchase material in, what they deem as, precarious business conditions. Shipments to the construction sector and pipe fabricators remained slow in the trading period. During the summer months, building activity is constrained by high temperatures. Export opportunities are limited outside the GCC region.

South Africa

The trading environment remains downbeat in South Africa. Distributors condemned the latest upward adjustments as “unwarranted” given the current trading climate. Construction activity in the public sector is at a standstill, at present, as the market awaits government decisions on new investments.

Mexico

Purchasing activity remains moderate in Mexico. The majority of local stockists are refraining from signing any contracts at the moment. Shipments of finished steel products to the United States have halted, this month, due to uncertainty over US trade tariffs.

Source: MEPS Developing Markets Steel Review

People also read: EU Steel Prices Slip As Purchasing Slows

US Coil Prices Soften, Plate Values Steady

US strip mill product prices fell, in the past four weeks, according to MEPS. Hot rolled coil is readily available, from both local and offshore suppliers. Domestic delivery lead times are between two and four weeks. A number of US steel buyers remark that local producers and several Canadian steelmakers continue to offer material at slightly reduced price levels, in an attempt to secure orders.

Cold rolled coil buyers were successful in securing discounted deals from domestic mills – after achieving price reductions on hot band material. Many US producers lowered prices, in an attempt to secure orders, amid stronger foreign competition. Small pockets of material from Russia, Egypt, Canada, Mexico, South Africa, Malaysia and Thailand are available in the domestic market.

Demand from the automotive sector has slowed down, albeit from record levels. Local hot dipped galvanised producers are willing to offer reduced prices, in an attempt to secure orders. Delivery lead times are between five and seven weeks. A shortage of competitively-priced offshore options persists.

The upward trajectory of US hot rolled plate prices stalled, as local values were unchanged, this month. However, the domestic mills could announce a list price hike, in the near term. Healthy demand from the construction and energy sectors and tight supply conditions could assist mill attempts to solidify previous price gains. Domestic delivery lead times are projected to extend, in the third trimester, as several US plate producers plan maintenance outages. Availability of offshore hot rolled plate remains limited as a result of trade cases.

Source: MEPS International Steel Review – May 2017 Edition

Kobelco Millcon Steel modernizes wire rod mill with Primetals Technologies equipment

To increase its local supply of special steel products, Kobelco Millcon Steel Co., Ltd. is modernizing a wire rod mill in Rayong, Thailand with equipment supplied by Primetals Technologies. When completed in May 2017, the Thailand mill will supply steel rods for automotive parts. Upgrades to the mill include new mill stand gear drives, water boxes, pinch rolls and laying heads and the latest design stepless reform. In addition, Primetals Technologies will install a Morgan Reducing Sizing Mill (RSM) with a quick change feature to produce thermomechanically rolled (TMR) products and improve tolerances, mechanical properties and coil packages. Speed guarantees for the 480,000 ton per year mill will be 110 m/s, with a maximum rolling rate of up to 120 tons per hour.

Previously owned by Thai Special Steel Industry (TSSI), this asset of TSSI was purchased by Millcon Steel Industries in 2014. Designed for cold heading quality (CHQ) products, the TSSI mill was originally supplied in 1998 by the former Morgan Construction Company, now owned by Primetals Technologies, which recommissioned it for Millcon in 2015.

Kobelco Millcon Steel Co., Ltd. is a joint venture of Japanese steel supplier Kobe Steel, Ltd. and rebar and construction supplier Millcon Steel Public Company Limited of Thailand, established in February 2016 to serve as a production base for wire rods. Kobe Steel is supporting the production, technology and marketing of special wire rod for the joint venture.

Founded in 1905, Kobe Steel is one of Japan’s leading steelmakers, as well as a major supplier of aluminum and copper products. Other business segments consist of wholesale power supply, machinery, construction machinery, real estate, and electronic materials and other businesses.

Prior to the joint venture, Millcon Special Steel Co. was a subsidiary of Millcon Steel Public Company Limited, a manufacturer and distributor of steel products in Thailand first incorporated in 1998. It supplies the construction, furniture and automotive spare parts industries.

Source: Primetals Technologies

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Tata Steel UK Limited announces cost reductions at its UK businesses to improve competitiveness

Tata Steel UK Limited, an indirect subsidiary of Tata Steel Limited, has today announced cost-saving proposals to improve the competitiveness of its UK business.

The plans would lead to the loss of 1,050 jobs – 750 jobs at its Port Talbot-based Strip Products UK business, 200 jobs in support functions and a further 100 jobs at steel mills in Trostre, Corby and Hartlepool.

The proposed changes follow continued falls in the European steel price caused by a flood of cheap imports, particularly from China.

A full consultation process with employee representatives will begin immediately.

Karl Koehler, Chief Executive of Tata Steel’s European operations, said: “I know this news will be unsettling for all those affected, but these tough actions are critical in the face of extremely difficult market conditions which are expected to continue for the foreseeable future.

“We need the European Commission to accelerate its response to unfairly traded imports and increase the robustness of its actions. Not doing so threatens the future of the entire European steel industry. And while we welcome progress on UK energy costs, the Government must take urgent action to increase the competitiveness of the UK for its vital steel sector. This includes lowering business rates and supporting energy efficiency and anti-dumping cases so we can compete fairly.

“Tata Steel has been a hugely supportive investor, and has invested £1.5 billion in its UK operations. We now need all stakeholders to do their utmost to meet the unprecedented challenges the steel sector is facing.”

Stuart Wilkie, Director of Strip Products UK, said: “We have to accelerate the changes we announced last August, by lowering our costs at the same time as focusing on manufacturing higher-value products. These are urgent steps needed to give this business a chance of survival.

“We will work closely with affected employees and their trade union representatives. Retaining the right skills for the future will be critical, but we will look to minimise employee hardship and redeploy employees where possible.”

Tata Steel’s regeneration arm UK Steel Enterprise will look at how it can provide more support to the local communities affected by today’s announcement and help stimulate new job creation in those areas. Over the last four decades the company has helped to regenerate local economies, including South Wales, with £88 million of support and created more than 75,000 new jobs across the UK.

Source: Tata Steel UK Ltd

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