Central Bank Shakiness Finally Hits Steel

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Cold-rolled steel

The continuing sluggish Chinese economy took its toll on steel prices this week as the European Central Bank failed to impress investors and the US Federal Reserve neared the end of its quantitative easing bond-buying program. QE Is set to end this month.

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The US vs. international steel price gap continued to widen and prices slid in the developing world. Moves to increase production may have been too much too soon. Hot-rolled steel, a benchmark grade that typically is processed into cars, building structures or appliances, cost about $600 to $620 a metric ton in August. Now it can be had for about $550-$570 a ton, a drop of about 8%, according to World Steel Dynamics, a steel research firm.

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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 ($136.84) and a low price of CNY 830.00 ($135.21) per dry metric ton. Following a steady week, prices for Chinese HRC closed flat at CNY 3,030 ($493.60) per metric ton. Chinese coking coal prices held steady from the previous week at CNY 1,390 ($226.44) per metric ton. Chinese slab traded sideways last week, hovering around CNY 3,480 ($566.90) per metric ton.

Following a steady week, prices for on the LME the steel billet 3-month price closed flat at $455.00 per metric ton. Also on the LME, the cash price of steel billet remained steady from the previous week at $450.00 per metric ton.

Korean steel prices were flat for the week. At KRW 240,000 ($232.01) per metric ton, the week finished with no movement for Korean steel scrap. Prices for Korean pig iron remained constant, closing the week at KRW 635,000 ($619.69) per metric ton.

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