Steel Coil loading onto boat at a port in the emerging steel markets

Uncertainty and Price Volatility Dampens Steel Demand in Emerging Markets

Business sentiment is unsettled, in Brazil. Distributors and end-users are frustrated with the increased transaction values proposed by their domestic suppliers. The latest initiative, delayed until July, is viewed as excessive.

The business climate is challenging, in the Russian Federation. Inventory levels are being controlled, throughout the supply chain. We note a reluctance on the part of end-users to commit to forward orders. Price support from export customers is limited.

In India, steel distributors, operating adjacent to the Bay of Bengal, witnessed a fall in business activity, due to the onset of the monsoon season. We note little appetite for purchasing at present amongst construction firms. Both primary and secondary steel producers are reluctant to offer price reductions and more favourable payment terms, fearing such measures would lead to further negative price expectations. Traditionally, the monsoon season ends in September.

The trading atmosphere is unchanged, in Ukraine. Manufacturing activity is still tepid. Businesses remain reluctant to invest. The export market is very competitive. The local association of metal producers, Metallurgprom, report that finished steel production, in May 2019, totalled 1.741 million tonnes – up 4.6 percent, month-on-month.

Demand is tepid throughout Turkey. Service centres and distributors are reluctant to purchase as they would like to get a clearer picture of the market. Local end-user consumption is weak. No upturn in market activity is foreseen until the end of the summer, at the earliest. The mills are targeting overseas customers to offload their surplus output.

Difficult business conditions persist, in the United Arab Emirates. Market confidence is still lukewarm. Sales to end-users and distributors are weak. Producers considered implementing a domestic price advance, but, so far, this has not proved possible. Traditionally, sales volumes decline in August and September, as warmer temperatures curb construction activity. Export opportunities are limited outside the GCC region.

The outlook is unchanged in the South African steel market. Steel distributors are extremely reluctant to purchase material in the current business conditions. Activity in the public sector is lacklustre, at present, as the market awaits government decisions on new construction and infrastructure projects.

The prognosis for the Mexican steel market is unchanged. The business environment is unpredictable. Buying sentiment is being shaped by expectations of further significant price fluctuations. Service centres are reluctant to conclude contracts, due to weak orders from construction and manufacturing companies. Meanwhile, shipments of finished steel products to the United States have resumed, this month.

Source: MEPS Developing Markets Review