Cheap imports and falling demand from major consumers such as China have led to a third consecutive week of losses for steel billet.
Imports rose 33% in January and a strong US dollar and weak Russian ruble mean the trend will continue.
The week’s biggest mover on the weekly Raw Steels MMI® was the steel billet 3-month price, which saw a 16.4% decline on the LME to $305.00 per metric ton. This week marked the third in a row of declining prices for the metal. For the third week in a row, the cash price of steel billet dropped, falling 14.1% on the LME to $305.00 per metric ton.
Chinese steel prices were mixed for the week. The price of iron ore 58% fines from India hit a high price of CNY 450.00 ($71.90) and a low price of CNY 445.00 ($71.10) per dry metric ton. Chinese HRC prices ticked up 1.6% over the past week to CNY 2,530 ($403.23) per metric ton. Chinese coking coal prices held steady from the previous week at CNY 1,080 ($172.57) per metric ton. Chinese slab traded sideways last week, hovering around CNY 2,460 ($392.07) per metric ton.
The US HRC futures contract spot price fell 5.3% over the past week to $500.00 per short ton. This was the fourth week in a row of declining prices. The US HRC futures contract 3-month price fell 0.8% over the past week to $515.00 per short ton. This was the fourth week in a row of declining prices. After a 0.4% decline, US shredded scrap closed out the week at $246.00 per short ton.
Korean steel prices were flat for the week. Korean steel scrap remained essentially flat from the previous week at KRW 144,000 ($129.51) per metric ton. Closing at KRW 530,000 ($482.17) per metric ton, Korean pig iron remained unchanged for the week.
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