Flat Week for Steel, BHP Billiton and ArcelorMittal Play Let’s Make a Deal, PMI Above 50

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Another flat to down week in the steel world belied a lot of news and movement among the big steel players. It was revealed that ArcelorMittal, the world’s largest steelmaker, is in “deep, deep discussions” with BHP Billiton to acquire its 41.3 percent stake in Mount Nimba, a rich iron ore deposit located close to the Liberian border.

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Reports showed that steel imports surged 26% this quarter much to the consternation of domestic manufacturers. One of those exporters, China, reported strong steel demand for the first time since 2011. According to data released by China Steel Logistics Professional Committee of CFLP, the purchasing manager’s index of the Chinese steel sector rose 8.4 percentage points from a month earlier to 52.6% in April, the first reading above 50% since September of last year.

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Chinese steel prices were flat for the week. The price of iron ore 58% fines from India hit a high price of CNY 840.00 ($134.86) and a low price of CNY 830.00 ($133.26) per dry metric ton. At CNY 3,360 ($539.45) per metric ton, the week finished with no movement for Chinese HRC. Chinese coking coal remained essentially flat from the previous week at CNY 1,390 ($223.17) per metric ton. Prices for Chinese slab remained constant, closing the week at CNY 3,480 ($558.72) per metric ton.

Closing at $400.00 per metric ton, the 3-month price of steel billet remained unchanged on the LME for the week. This past week, the cash price of steel billet kept quiet, holding at on the LME at $390.00 per metric ton.

Korean steel prices were flat for the week. Following a steady week, prices for Korean steel scrap closed flat at KRW 270,000 ($264.09) per metric ton. At KRW 635,000 ($621.11) per metric ton, the price of Korean pig iron did not change since the previous week.

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