The world’s largest steel maker, ArcelorMittal, reported on Friday a $955 million loss for the fourth quarter, highlighting the difficulty of making money in slumping commodities businesses such as steel and iron ore.
The company’s large mining operations were hit by the sharp fall in iron ore prices, while its North American steel unit also slowed. The Luxembourg-based steelmaker’s write-off of $621 million on its investment in China Oriental, a Chinese steel business, was another big contributor to the loss.
ThyssenKrupp , Europe’s second-largest steelmaker, reported a small profit of €43 million ($48.8 million), for the quarter, compared with a loss of €70 million a year earlier.
Weakening prices ended a three-day flat streak as the 3-month price of steel billet fell 1.0% on Thursday, February 12 on the LME to $475.00 per metric ton. The steel billet cash price fell 1.0% on Thursday on the LME to $495.00 per metric ton after three straight days with no change.
Chinese steel prices closed flat for the day. The price of iron ore 58% fines from India hit a high price of CNY 450.00 ($72.09) and a low price of CNY 445.00 ($71.28) per dry metric ton. The price of Chinese HRC held steady at CNY 2,510 ($402.07) per metric ton. For the fifth day in a row, the price of Chinese coking coal remained essentially flat at CNY 1,080 ($173.00) per metric ton.
The 3-month price of the US HRC futures contract fell to a 30-day low at $535.00 per short ton after shifting 0.9%. The US HRC futures contract spot price fell 0.4% to a 30-day low of $535.00 per short ton on Thursday.