China Coking Coal Price Falls; Will US Steel Demand Pick Up?

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Some telling signs in within US steel industry point to continued sluggishness.

“Apparent U.S. domestic steel consumption in the first five months of 2013 declined 7.7 percent,” according to data compiled by Bloomberg. “Usage has dropped at a faster rate than U.S. production, causing prices to fall, said Andrew Cosgrove, an analyst at Bloomberg Industries.”

Meanwhile, the Metals Service Center Institute (MSCI) reported that service center steel shipments dropped 4.7 percent in June from the same period last year. Steel inventories dropped 1 percent in June from the previous month.

In terms of daily steel prices, the biggest mover on the weekly Raw Steels MMI® was the cash price of steel billet, which saw a 29.6 percent decline on the LME to $95.00 per metric ton. This comes on the heels of a 12.5 percent increase the week before. The steel billet 3-month price fell 27.3 percent on the LME to $120.00 per metric ton after rising 10.0 percent the week before.

Chinese raw material inputs dropped, while steel prices were up.

The price of iron ore 58% fines from India ended up slightly lower. Chinese coking coal fell 1.4 percent over the past week. Following a 1.1 percent increase, Chinese HRC finished the week higher. Chinese slab prices ticked up 0.8 percent over the past week.

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US shredded scrap saw its price rise 1.4 percent. The 3-month price of the US HRC futures contract fell 1.1 percent last week, settling at $610.00 per short ton. The US HRC futures contract spot price remained steady from the previous week at $635.00 per short ton.

Korean steel scrap and pig iron prices were flat for the week.

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