Chinese Steel Chairman Warns of Lean Year, Steel Billet Weakens on LME

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Liu Zhenjiang, vice chairman of the China Iron and Steel Association, warned China’s metal producers of further challenges for the stagnated iron and steel sector, Money 163 reported. January losses for the Chinese iron and steel industry were around 1 billion yuan ($161 million), the worst in two years. The industry is plagued by overcapacity coupled with decreasing steel prices, the impact of which was seen in the first quarter of 2014 with 43 percent of monitored companies reporting losses.

Chinese steel prices were mixed for the day. The price of iron ore 58% fines from India hit a high price fluctuated in a short range. The price of Chinese HRC posted a 0.6 percent increase. The price of Chinese coking coal saw little movement.

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The cash price of steel billet fell 1.3 percent on Tuesday, March 18, making it the day’s biggest mover. After three days of flat prices on the LME, it closed at $385.00 per metric ton. Also on the LME, the 3-month price of steel billet held steady around $400.00 per metric ton.

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The 3-month price of the US HRC futures contract fell 0.3 percent. For the fifth day in a row, the spot price of the US HRC futures contract remained essentially flat.