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Tag Archives: steel

Green targets drive demand for new forms of auto steel

The North American International Auto Show in Detroit is as big of an event for car enthusiasts as an Apple product launch is for techies. A car and tech enthusiast I am not. But growing up in the Steel City and working on the Platts metals team has made me a bit of a metals enthusiast, and the Detroit auto show is a major event for metal enthusiasts, too. Last year, the big news at the show was the aluminum-bodied Ford F-150 truck winning the prize for truck of the year. Some carmakers...

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US steel wonders if interventions are enough to keep imports at bay

A couple decades or so ago, Bethlehem Steel, then the USA’s second largest steelmaker, introduced a team of trade attorneys as it was about to embark on another round of massive unfair trade case filings against steel imports. It wasn’t unusual for mills to have trade case attorneys, either in-house or on retainer, but Bethlehem was making a statement: This is how we roll. International steel dumpers, we’re coming to get you. It was as though Bethlehem was establishing a new division as it...

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China or Gulf: Which side of the force will prevail on CIS/Turkish steel?

The New Year has started for the CIS and Turkish longs steel markets with mixed signals, as the price sentiment in China increased slightly but the latest geopolitical uncertainty in the Gulf area raised concerns for the future market demand developments. After a series of months characterized by falling Chinese steel prices, January started with billet offers from China increasing by up to $15/mt and similar increases reported by sources for other steel products. The Turkish scrap market and...

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If you’re a steelmaker, it’s all about China, baby

Anglo American said recently it would scrap its dividend this year and next, hugely reduce capex and look to sell all its lossmaking assets. The move — deemed unsurprising by some and insufficient to a few — is a testimony to the primary issue facing the ferrous mining and metals market: China’s slowdown. China was ostensibly the sole driver of the commodities boom, and its drastic downsizing is the pain point for steelmakers, iron ore and coal miners worldwide. Anyone selling to the dragon...

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A re-rollers’ steel market on scrap, DRI costs

Rolling semi-finished steels into bars used for construction is the healthiest steelmaking option available right now, looking at margins. The Middle East and Eastern Mediterranean region has, like others, succumbed to steel price pressure led by Chinese imports, with low iron ore fines prices aiding competitive billet pricing for re-rolling. Higher relative ferrous scrap and prevailing contract levels of direct reduction (DR) pellet premiums at around $40/dry mt and up is keeping DRI...

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Yes, Virginia, there is a turnaround for the steel sector

Once the US Thanksgiving holiday passes it is never too soon to summon the Christmas spirit. The American steel industry, suffering persistently low prices, high inventories and weak demand, could use a Christmas boost right about now. The following is reprinted from the late American Steel Review, based on the famous 1897 editorial reply “Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus.” Yes, Virginia, there is a turnaround Dear editor, I am a young professional in the American steel industry and...

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Iron pellet market set to fall before Samarco accident

Brazilian iron ore miner Samarco’s tragic accident and environmental disaster has left a hole in the pellet market, but buyers may not be scrambling for alternatives. The effect on pellet premiums, however, may be helping buttress a sagging market. Premiums will fall next year, but perhaps not by the same degree on account of Samarco’s accident, echoed two pellet buyers. Platts assessed November Atlantic estimated contract premiums at $30/dmt. Prior to the accident, sources expected a fall in...

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Steel seems poised to keep on runnin’, keep on hidin’

So say the lyrics immortalized by Spencer Davis, which to some degree show what is wrong with the global steel market — it keeps on running and hiding from its overcapacity. For global producers to return to 85% utilization rates, 170 million mt of global capacity has to disappear, according to Macquarie Research. To reach headier rates of 90% utilization rates, at which mills can make decent money, the equivalent of Western European and Japanese production (275 million mt) needs to exit the...

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Prophetic words from the world of metals in 2008

Painful as an office move can be, it’s not as bad as moving house, and it gives one an opportunity to have a good clear out, or send stuff off to the archive for long-term storage. In finishing packing up my desk this morning, I came across some very prophetic words in my notes from a US ferroalloys trader from March 12, 2008. He said: “The fourth quarter will be the real litmus test in terms of recession, especially if the US is in a bit of a slump.” And that was a full six...

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Recent news paints global picture of doom and gloom for steel

The steel industry doesn’t have much to cheer about these days. Some recent news items tell the tale: Essar Steel Algoma, a Canadian flat steel producer, filed for creditor protection for the second time in 18 months. Ferrous scrap prices fell again this month, erasing any hope that an end to the five-month swoon in the key steelmaking raw material would boost finished steel prices by extension. Scrap prices have declined about 40% since June and are roughly half the price they were at the...

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