Weekly Steel Price Index Roundup; ArcelorMittal, Tata Petition EU; Iran Opens Up

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The week’s biggest mover on the weekly Raw Steels MMI® was the steel billet 3-month price, which saw a 12.7 percent increase on the LME to $400.00 per metric ton. This comes on the heels of a 1.4 percent decline the week prior. The cash price of steel billet saw a 8.3 percent increase in its price, hitting $390.00 per metric ton on the LME.

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EU Steelmakers ask for restraint on climate change policy

EU leaders will meet in Brussels on March 20-21 to set an end-of-year deadline for a decision on climate and energy strategy for 2030. The 28-nation bloc is trying to balance Europe’s lofty ambition to fight against climate change with pledges to revive the region’s industry and cut down reliance on fossil fuels.

The planned framework, under which the commission proposed in January that the EU deepen its emission reductions to 40 percent by 2030, has divided governments and industry. While 13 member states including the UK and Germany called earlier this month for a swift decision to adopt an ambitious strategy, a group of nations led by Poland urged further analysis of the proposed policies on the bloc’s economy. The EU’s current target is to reduce pollution by 20 percent by 2020 from 1990 levels.

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The chief executive officers of 64 European steel companies, including the European units of Luxembourg-based ArcelorMittal and Tata Steel Ltd. (TATA), signed an open letter to EU heads of state and governments, according to a statement today from steel lobby group Eurofer.

“We, the undersigned CEOs, urge the heads of state and governments to restore balance between industrial, energy and climate policies in order to preserve the competitiveness of the industries which are at the core of the European economy,” the letter shows.

The 3-month price of the US HRC futures contract rose 0.2 percent after falling 0.2 percent during the previous week. The US HRC futures contract spot price declined 0.2 percent since last week. The price of US shredded scrap did not change since the previous week.

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Chinese steel prices were mixed for the week. The price of iron ore 58% fines from India hit a high and low price within $2 of each other per dry metric ton. Chinese HRC closed out the week with a 2.3 percent decline. The week finished with no movement for Chinese coking coal. Chinese slab prices held steady from the previous week.

Iran, the newest steel market

One of the major factors in this rise may have been that economic sanctions eased last month under a temporary accord with Iran.
After seven years of international sanctions, the Islamic Republic of Iran consumes more steel than France or the UK. It’s a major automaker and needs massive infrastructure for its oil and gas industry, consuming about 20 million tons a year of the metal, according to Bloomberg LP. Iran is shaping up as a hot, untapped opportunity for Western steel exporters, particularly high-grade mills.
ArcelorMittal and Russia’s OAO Novolipetsk Steel have mills in central Asia that supplied Iran before sanctions began in 2007, when it imported 12.2 million tons a year of the metal, a value of $6 billion today. Other steelmakers are quietly testing the waters.About 45 producers sent representatives to a steel conference last month in Tehran to study export opportunities and investing in Iran’s domestic industry, Bloomberg reported.

Korean steel prices were mixed for the week. Korean steel scrap saw a 1.6 percent decline over the past week. Prices for Korean pig iron remained constant.

The Raw Steels MMI® collects and weights 13 global steel and raw material price points to provide a unique view into global steel price trends. For more information on the Raw Steels MMI®, how it’s calculated or how your company can use the index, please drop us a note at: info (at) agmetalminer (dot) com.