steel price

The U.S. steel industry’s capacity utilization rate for the year through Dec. 14 held at 80.1% for the second straight week, according to weekly production reported by the American Iron and Steel Institute (AISI).

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The U.S. steel industry churned out 92.6 million tons of steel for the year through Dec. 14, marking a 1.8% increase compared with production during the same period in 2018 (when production reached 90.9 million tons at a capacity utilization rate of 78.2%).

Meanwhile, production for the week ending Dec. 14 reached 1.84 million tons at a capacity utilization rate of 79.7%. That weekly production total marked a 0.9% decrease from production during the same week in 2018, which totaled 1.86 million tons at a capacity utilization rate of 79.4%.

Production for the week ending Dec. 14 rose 1.3% compared with production for the week ending Dec. 7, 2019 (when production totaled 1.82 million tons at a capacity utilization rate of 78.2%).

By region, production for the week ending Dec. 14, 2019, totaled:

  • Northeast: 212,000 tons
  • Great Lakes: 681,000 tons
  • Midwest: 192,000 tons
  • Southern: 669,000 tons
  • Western: 90,000 tons

Steel prices, meanwhile, have been rising on the heels of price increases imposed by major U.S. steel producers.

U.S. HRC is up 9.59% over the last month, up to $560/st, according to MetalMiner IndX data. U.S. HDG, meanwhile, is up 7.01% to $824/st. U.S. CRC is up 6.99% to $750/st.

Keep up to date on everything going on in the world of trade and tariffs via MetalMiner’s Trade Resource Center.

U.S. plate prices were late to the party, but plate has increased 13.58% over the last month, climbing to $694/st.

The Raw Steels Monthly Metals Index (MMI) showed some strength this month with a three-point increase, rising to 69 from 66 last month.

U.S. steel prices rebounded in November when recent mill prices increases took effect.

Source: MetalMiner data from MetalMiner IndX(™)

Once again, plate price increases have lagged behind the other forms, (similar to July, when plate prices failed to gain):

Source: MetalMiner data from MetalMiner IndX(™)

However, plate prices now look in line with historical norms, in terms of relative values across key types. Plate prices may now begin to move with other prices, rather than on a unique trajectory.

U.S. capacity utilization slipped below 80% during late November. The rate stayed lower during the week ending Dec. 7, when capacity utilization totaled 78.7% based on production of 1.82 million tons. During the same period last year, production totaled 1.86 million tons based on a capacity utilization of 79.4%.

Year-to-date capacity utilization through Dec. 7 totaled 80.1%, with 90.74 million tons produced. This represents a 1.9% increase compared to last year’s production of 79.06 million tons during the same period (based on a capacity utilization of 78.2%).

Chinese HRC, CRC steel prices show slight gains

Chinese HRC and CRC prices increased during November — by roughly 6% and 4.5%, respectively — bringing prices back to September levels.

Source: MetalMiner data from MetalMiner IndX(™)

HDG and plate prices held flat, however, keeping prices among the four key forms sideways overall.

Nippon Steel to potentially shutter two blast furnaces; Japanese fiscal stimulus package likely to boost demand

In order to better align fixed production costs with domestic demand, Nippon Steel may close two of 15 blast furnaces in operation across the country by March 2024.

Demand for steel slowed for the Japanese producer due to decreasing domestic population, higher export barriers, and trade issues, according to management team discussions with the press.

Typically, the company exports more than 40% of output. Recently, however, export levels suffered due to the desire of other Asian countries to boost domestic steel production, in addition to increased Chinese exports.

The Japanese government recently announced a $122 billion fiscal stimulus package that will likely boost demand levels due to infrastructure development targeting natural disaster mitigation.

Major merger on the horizon for Cleveland-Cliffs, AK Steel

Cleveland-Cliffs Inc. recently announced its intent to purchase AK Steel Holding Corp. for $1.1 billion.

As detailed in a recent MetalMiner article, the deal provides Cleveland-Cliffs with built-in demand for pellet production, while also entering Cleveland-Cliffs into steel production.

Cleveland-Cliffs now derives around 23% of annual income from AK Steel, the company’s largest customer with the exception of ArcelorMittal SA.

The agreement still faces antitrust vetting. Completion of the deal is expected during H1 2020.

U.S. economic indicators remain positive overall

While growth remains somewhat constrained as 2019 comes to a close, the U.S. economy continues to maintain momentum overall.

According to the most recent Beige Book report released by the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, based on data collected through Nov. 18, economic activity in aggregate expanded modestly from October through mid-November, at a similar pace as the previous reporting period.

Most districts reported increases in auto sales. Also, an increasing number showed improved manufacturing activity, but the majority still reported flat activity.

Residential home sales were flat to higher across districts, while residential construction improvements expanded to more areas.

Nonresidential construction continued to increase modestly, while the energy sector showed modest deterioration in activity.

The Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta’s GDPNow model estimate of GDP growth jumped by 0.5% to 2.0% on Dec. 6 based on recent data inputs.

GDPNow provides a running forecast of the official estimate in advance to its release and is based only on mathematical results of the model.

What this means for industrial buyers

Improved demand appeared to push up prices this month.

So far, however, price increases look fairly mild, with some recent momentum attributed to pushed-forward Q1 2020 demand.

It’s still too soon to tell if price increases will continue from here.

Buying organizations interested in tracking industrial metals prices with ease will want to request a demo of the all-new MetalMiner Insights platform.

Buying organizations seeking more insight into longer-term steel price trends may want to read MetalMiner’s Annual Metal Buying Outlook.

Free Partial Sample Report: 2020 MetalMiner Annual Metals Outlook

Actual raw steel prices and trends

LME billet three-month prices increased the most among index values this month, rising by 9.3% month over month to $262/st as of Dec. 1.

The U.S. Midwest HRC futures spot price dropped 0.4% to $493/st, while the Midwest HRC futures three-month price increased by 7.5% to $590/st.

U.S. shredded scrap prices increased 4.4% to $235/st.

All Chinese prices in the index increased. Coking coal increased the most, by 6.4% to $264/mt, while HRC increased by 6.3% by $530/mt. Steel billet increased by 2.9% to $510/mt, while slab rose by 2% to $519/mt.

Iron ore prices remained essentially flat, with a mild 0.1% increase to around $64 per dry metric ton.

Korean scrap prices registered a third double-digit monthly decrease, down by 11.5% to $72/mt. Korean pig iron prices also dropped this month, falling 1% to $364/mt.

Pavel Ignatov/Adobe Stock

This morning in metals news, U.S. steel prices have gained some upward momentum over the last month, the U.S. and Mexico are reportedly drawing closer to an agreement over revisions to the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA), and U.S. steel import permit applications declined in November.

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Steel prices rise

After appearing to bottom out in mid-October through mid-November, U.S. steel prices have since been on the rise.

U.S. CRC has jumped 8.04% over the last month, while HDG is up 9.25%, according to MetalMiner IndX data.

U.S. HRC has surged 11.8% over the last month.

U.S., Mexico near USMCA deal

According to Reuters, the U.S. and Mexico are nearing a deal regarding revisions to the USMCA, the proposed successor to the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).

Leaders of the three countries signed the agreement late last year, but it still requires ratification by the countries’ legislatures.

This summer, Mexico’s legislature was the first of the three to ratify the agreement; however, ongoing revisions to the deal are being worked through, as the deal still requires Democratic support in the U.S.

Steel import permit applications decline in November

Steel import permit applications in November declined compared with the previous month, according to the American Iron and Steel Institute (AISI).

Keep up to date on everything going on in the world of trade and tariffs via MetalMiner’s Trade Resource Center.

Permit applications in November totaled 1.86 million net tons, AISI reported, down 28.1% from October’s recorded 2.59 million net tons.

gui yong nian/Adobe Stock

This morning in metals news, U.S. steel imports were down 16% through the first 10 months of the year, steel companies are raising their prices and protests continue in the world’s top copper-producing country.

Keep up to date on everything going on in the world of trade and tariffs via MetalMiner’s Trade Resource Center.

Steel imports drop 16% through October

U.S. imports of steel through the first 10 months of the year were down 16% on a year-over-year basis, the American Iron and Steel Institute (AISI) reported this week.

Steel imports through the end of October totaled 24.78 million tons, according to the report.

Meanwhile, U.S. steel imports for totaled 2.18 million tons in October, which marked a 14.5% increase compared with the September import total.

Steel companies raise prices

Amid slumping steel prices, companies like U.S. Steel and ArcelorMittal are raising prices for their products, the Times of Northwest Indiana reported.

According to the Times’ report, the steelmakers have raised their prices for flat-rolled steel three times in less than a month.

Chile protests continue

Widespread protests erupted in Chile in October, at first over a proposed metro fare hike; since then, the protests have expanded to encompass more widespread, systemic ills that are being called out by the protesters in the streets of Santiago and other cities.

Chile is the world’s No. 1 copper producer. Bloomberg reports the country’s recent protests could in fact threaten the status of the country’s major state-owned producer as the world’s No. 1 producer.

According to the report, state-owned Codelco — the world’s top copper producer — had been planning to spend $20 billion in Chile over a decade to modernize its mines.

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However, Bloomberg notes, demands raised by protesters in Chile could be at odds with government funding Codelco had looked for toward that aforementioned modernization. As a result, Codelco may fall from its No. 1 spot, according to Colin Hamilton of BMO Capital Markets, as cited by Bloomberg.

gui yong nian/Adobe Stock

The U.S. steel sector’s steel capacity utilization reached 80.4% for the week ending Nov. 23, as steel prices have recently showed some signs of bouncing back as we inch closer toward 2020.

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Adjusted year-to-date steel production reached 87.20 million net tons at a capacity utilization rate of 80.3%. Production for the aforementioned period marked a 2.2% year-over-year increase, compared with the 85.29 million tons at a capacity rate of 78.1% produced last year.

Meanwhile, for the week ending Nov. 23, 2019, domestic raw steel production reached 1.86 million net tons at a capacity utilization rate of 80.4%. The weekly production total marked a decline from the 1.90 million net tons produced during the week ending Nov. 23, 2018 (when the capacity utilization rate reached 81.2%).

On a week-over-week basis, production for the week ending Nov. 23, 2019, declined 0.8% from the 1.88 million net tons produced the week ending Nov. 16, 2019.

By region, production totals for the week ending Nov. 23, 2019, totaled:

  • Northeast: 203,000 tons
  • Great Lakes: 673,000 tons
  • Midwest: 193,000 tons
  • Southern: 716,000 tons
  • Western: 76,000 tons

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Steel prices continue slight gains heading toward 2020

Last week, we noted U.S. steel prices had possibly hit a bottom and appeared to start to gain some slight upward momentum as we head closer and closer to 2020.

U.S. HRC is up 4.42% over the last month, reaching $520/st to start the week, according to MetalMiner IndX data. Since mid-November, the U.S. HRC price has moved off of MetalMiner’s short-term support level of $475/st.

U.S. CRC, meanwhile, is up 3.05% over the last 30 days, up to $709/st. Like HRC, CRC has pushed off of MetalMiner’s short-term support level ($671/st).

U.S. HDG’s gains have been more significant, as it starts to approach MetalMiner’s short-term resistance level of $798/st. HDG is up 6.31% over the last 30 days, having reached $792/st early this week.

U.S. plate prices, meanwhile, are bucking the trend — as if often the case with plate.

Plate is down 15.41% over the last 30 days, down to $615/st to start the week.

In previous downturns, Beijing has taken a range of stimulus measures to keep the economy growing robustly; as a result, it has contributed positively to global GDP and commodity prices.

Keep up to date on everything going on in the world of trade and tariffs via MetalMiner’s Trade Resource Center.

But this time around Beijing seems to have a greater tolerance for slowing growth.

While stimulus measures are expected as early as December, the Financial Times reported, they are not expected to be on the scale of those seen in 2008-2009 and 2015-2016.

Freya Beamish, an analyst at Pantheon Macroeconomics, is quoted by the Financial Times as saying China’s stimulus in the 2018-2019 period will be equivalent to about 7% of GDP over the two-year period. Measures taken in 2015 and 2016 were worth 10% of GDP, while the 2008-09 stimulus amounted to 19% of GDP, according to an OECD estimate.

Beijing appears constrained by a number of factors, policy-driven and economic, in what it can do and how far it can go.

Office space is at an all-time high in some Chinese cities, forcing the delay and cancellation to high-profile skyscraper projects and more general office developments, the Financial Times reported.

Following a surge in new residential housing starts earlier this year, growth has since moderated and is expected to slow further in 2020. Beijing seems reluctant to undermine the currency by further monetary easing and is particularly sensitive to avoiding property price rises by stoking demand.

The Financial Times reports that Chinese states and municipalities are already heavily indebted and banks are reluctant to increase bad debts. While infrastructure lending is the most likely form of stimulus, it will probably not be on the same scale as previous measures.

A former Chinese bank official is quoted as saying that due to previous infrastructure investments, “Cities and provinces are having trouble financing new projects as they must spend a significant portion of their cash-paying off debt.” Possibly as a result of this, investment spending grew by only 3.4% in the first three quarters of this year.

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This moderation in appetite for further stimulus coming on top of the cooling housing market undermines the case made in a recent article we reviewed suggesting steel prices could be set for a recovery, extrapolating on the apparent recovery of the Chinese steel sector.

If the Financial Times is correct in its analysis above, any current strength in Chinese — and, by extension, southeast Asian — steel prices could be relatively short-lived.

Amid the doom and gloom on steel prices – at least for producers, you won’t hear consumers complaining — a couple of Reuters reports suggest some of the relentless pressure on prices may ease early next year.

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Demand in top consumer China remains surprisingly robust, yet inventories are falling — suggesting producers are struggling to keep up with demand.

If that were not enough, Reuters reported new starts are being more vigorously investigated and the approval process reviewed, leading the industry to think supply will be curbed further during the winter heating period this year.

A notice jointly issued by the National Development and Reform Commission, Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) and the National Bureau of Statistics urges local governments and the State-owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission (SASAC) to verify the steel firms’ capacity, production and fixed-asset investments.

Both legal and so-called “illegal” capacity is coming under scrutiny, as some mills achieved capacity utilization rates of 150% in 2019 — raising questions about the accuracy of the original capacity estimation.

Mills can by a number of ways, such as using higher-grade ore, boost utilization rates above capacity for a period of time; however, the margin is usually single digits, not 50%.

This month has seen price rises in China for both finished steel products (like rebar, used in construction, and hot-rolled coil, used in medium manufacturing) and raw material inputs, such as iron ore and coking coal, Reuters reported.

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So far, price rises are modest.

But if strong demand continues, it could reduce the volume Chinese mills have available for export and raise the price of material that is sold into neighboring markets, raising the prospect of a firming in global steel prices next year.

It is too early to tell if the trend will continue, but it has been a sufficiently abrupt turnaround in sentiment from last month and will be worth watching in the coming weeks.

The U.S. steel sector’s capacity utilization rate incrementally declined in recent months, falling from 81.0% for the year to date as of late August down to 80.3% as of this past week, according to the American Iron and Steel Institute (AISI).

The year-to-date capacity utilization rate this year has reached as high as 81.9% (back in April).

The figures come in as some U.S. steel prices — including HRC, HDG and CRC — showed some upward momentum late last week.

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For the year to date through Nov. 16, capacity utilization came in at 80.3% for the fifth straight week.

For the year through Nov. 16, the U.S. steel industry produced 85.3 million net tons of steel, marking a 2.3% increase from the 83.4 million net tons produced during the equivalent period in 2018 (when the capacity utilization rate was 78.1%).

Meanwhile, for the week ending Nov. 16, steel production checked in at 1.88 million net tons at a capacity utilization rate of 81.1%. The weekly production figure marked a 1.4% decline on a year-over-year basis, compared with 1.90 million net tons produced during the week ending Nov. 16, 2018 (during which capacity utilization was slightly higher, checkin in at 81.2%).

Meanwhile, production for the week ending Nov. 16, 2019, was up 0.8% compared with production the previous week, which totaled 1.86 million net tons at a capacity utilization rate of 80.5%.

By region, production for the week of Nov. 16, 2019, totaled:

  • Northeast: 206,000 tons
  • Great Lakes: 650,000 tons
  • Midwest: 180,000 tons
  • Southern: 763,000 tons
  • Western: 77,00 tons

Steel Prices Make Gains at Last Week’s Close

While steel prices are still depressed overall, several forms showed some upward momentum last week.

U.S. CRC, for example, ticked up to $701/st to close the week after trading at $684/st the previous session. However, CRC is still down 3.04% on a month over month basis, according to MetalMiner IndX data.

U.S. HDG, meanwhile, rose to $770/st on Friday, up from $748/st the previous session. HDG, however, is down 2.41% on a month-over-month basis.

U.S. HRC ticked up from $483/st to $511/st to close the week, but remained down 3.95% over the previous month.

As is often the case, plate prices bucked the aforementioned trend.

U.S. plate prices dipped below MetalMiner’s short-term support level of $677/st, falling to $611/st. U.S. plate is down 15.96% over the previous month.

In its October quarterly earnings report, steelmaker Nucor said it believed steel prices had bottomed out.

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“Nucor’s earnings in the fourth quarter of 2019 are expected to decrease as compared to the third quarter of 2019,” the company said. “We expect earnings in the steel mills segment to further decrease in the fourth quarter of 2019 from the third quarter, as lower steel prices at the end of the third quarter, which we believe have bottomed, impact our fourth quarter results.”

The normally pragmatic Netherlands has been strangely agitated recently, as both the construction and agricultural industry have protested on the streets of the capital, the Hague, against the government’s measures for combating nitrogen and PFAS-based pollution.

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In itself this would barely be newsworthy for MetalMiner if it weren’t for the impact it is having on an already subdued metals industry.

Even before the widespread disruption to the Dutch construction industry, demand for steel and aluminum was suffering from depressed German industrial consumption, largely due to a downturn in the automotive market.

But in the Netherlands, the government is struggling to resolve an issue with nitrogen emissions permitting, which Reuters reports are four times the E.U. average per capita in the small and densely populated Netherlands.

Although 61% of emissions are coming from agriculture, a sizable portion also comes from the construction industry – a big consumer of aluminum and steel products.

The impact is particularly damaging, as the country has been enjoying a boom in infrastructure and housing investment of late.

As a result of a fiasco over how permits are assessed, a review is underway and, in the meantime, new permits have been withheld, leading to delays and project uncertainty.

Aluminum extruders estimate the European market is down at least 20% from last year as a result. With steel prices also waning, participants across the supply chain are reducing inventories, adding further to the fall in demand being experienced by producers.

Lead times have come in and order books are weak, as many in the steel and aluminum supply chains find themselves overstocked relative to ongoing demand. The double whammy of weak automotive demand now being exacerbated by a fall in construction activity has caught many by surprise.

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The government in the Netherlands will no doubt resolve its permitting issues. However, a return to last year’s robust level of activity is unlikely to bounce back quickly and producers remain pessimistic about demand next year.

In the meantime, prices are likely to remain under pressure and lead times will remain short into 2020.

gui yong nian/Adobe Stock

The Raw Steels Monthly Metals Index (MMI) showed mixed price movements in October, with declines outweighing increases for a one-point index drop to 66.

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U.S. steel prices continued to weaken during October, possibly reaching a new bottom.

Prices appeared to bottom out back in July (with the exception of plate), especially with price gains seen during August and early September.

Then, weakness set in again throughout September.

Source: MetalMiner data from MetalMiner IndX(™)

Plate prices dropped by another 14% since late August’s high price of $799/st down to $684/st, with prices near those for CRC. While plate prices are closer in line with historical pricing norms, plate prices tend to fall below CRC prices, despite being equal at this time.

HRC prices also looked particularly weak recently, dropping 18% to $483/st from the late August  price of $590/st.

While CRC and HDG also dropped below July values to reach new 2019 lows, recent declines were milder (but still significant). CRC and HDG prices dropped 10% and 11%, respectively, over the past couple of months, since reaching higher prices in early September/late August.

U.S. capacity utilization continues to hold above the critical 80% mark, at 80.3%, based on year-to-date production through Nov. 2. Production of 81.6 million tons during that period is up 2.5% year over year, according to statistics from the American Iron and Steel Institute (AISI).

Chinese Prices Fail to Gain Momentum

Chinese steel prices looked flat overall but were down slightly of late.

Source: MetalMiner data from MetalMiner IndX(™)

While prices failed to gain any upward momentum, price declines during the past month or two were mild.

Comparing average August prices to early November prices, cumulative declines ranged between 3.3%-5.4% over the period, with HDG and HRC dropping most (at 5.4% and 5.3%, respectively). CRC dropped 4.6% and plate by 3.3%.

U.S.-China CRC Spread Narrows Again, Nears Long-Term Low

With U.S. prices dropping more steeply than Chinese prices during the past few months, the spread between prices on key commodity forms narrowed once more.

Source: MetalMiner data from MetalMiner IndX(™)

Looking at the above chart showing the spread, valued in U.S. dollars per standard ton, we can see the spread dropped to an absolute value of $29/st — its lowest since December 2017’s value of $22/st.

The red line represents average costs associated with imports, indicating at this time U.S. prices should discourage imports by virtue of being relatively affordable.

The purple line represents the theoretical impact of tariff costs (to be adjusted based on actual tariff rates), which render an additional price buffer for domestic producers (in terms of increasing the price that can be charged before imports look more attractive).

Source: MetalMiner data from MetalMiner IndX(™)

In contrast to HRC, the CRC spread continues to exceed levels expected to discourage imports (pre-tariffs), with the spread remaining above $90/st — our theoretical average per standard ton cost associated with importing.

However, prices dropped below the purple line, indicating the tariff creates an import buffer for CRC at a tariff rate of 25% (based on current price differentials).

U.S. Commodity Steel Imports Decline

According to U.S. Census Bureau data, imports of hot roll sheets totaled 151,330 metric tons in September, compared to 157,636 tons in August. September imports of HRC decreased by 15.5%, from 179,105 metric tons in September 2018.

Imports of cold roll sheets totaled 124,286 metric tons in September, compared to 126,704 in August. Compared to September 2018, imports of CRC dropped by around 19.2%, down from 153,728 metric tons the year prior.

On a monthly basis, increased imports came primarily from Mexico, Canada and Turkey. Imports from Korea, Japan and Spain decreased last month.

In terms of year-to-date figures through August, steel imports totaled 18.8 million metric tons compared with 21.7 million metric tons during the first eight months of 2018.

HRC imports decreased the most, while black plate, line pipe and tin-free steel imports increased the most.

On a year-to-date basis through August, imports from Canada declined, while increases occurred from Brazil, Spain and Ukraine.

Chinese Steel Production Increases

Based on data from the World Steel Association (WSA), global production increases slowed in September.

Production from January through September of this year reached 1,391.2 million tons, up by 3.9% compared to the same period of last year. However, last month, the year-to-date increase measured 4.6% for the January-August period.

Year-to-date increases in Asia totaled 6.3% over the period, while E.U. production contracted by 2.8%. North American production of 90.6 million tons translated into a small increase of 0.3%.

September crude steel production declined in most major producer countries compared with September 2018, with the exception of China, India and Italy.

Crude production in China decreased to 82.8 million tons in September, compared with August production levels of 87.251 million tons, but increased by 2.2% compared with September 2018. India’s production increased by 1.6% to 9 million tons in September compared with last year, while Italy produced 2.2 million tons, a 1.1% increase compared with September 2018.

Japan’s September production dropped by 4.5% compared with September 2018, falling to 8 million tons. South Korea saw a drop of 2.7% during the same monthly comparison period, to 5.7 million tons. A decline of 4% hit German production, with 3.4 million tons produced, while France’s production dropped by 10.2% to 1.2 million tons.

What This Means for Industrial Buyers

Global production levels remain higher, primarily driven by high Chinese production, while demand still looks weaker.

If manufacturing gains continue in China, we could see some pricing momentum return. Some signs point in that direction; as of yet, demand has not yet pushed prices higher.

Buying organizations interested in tracking industrial metals prices with ease will want to request a demo of the all-new MetalMiner Insights platform.

Buying organizations seeking more insight into longer-term steel price trends may want to read MetalMiner’s Annual Metal Buying Outlook.

Free Partial Sample Report: 2020 MetalMiner Annual Metals Outlook

Actual Raw Steel Prices and Trends

Steel prices showed mixed movements in October.

Korean scrap prices registered another large drop this month — following last month’s 16.9% decrease — falling another 30.2% to $81/mt. However, Korean pig iron prices increased by 2.8% to $368/mt.

U.S. shredded scrap prices also decreased again this month, falling 11.4% to $225/st.

The U.S. Midwest HRC futures spot price dropped 5.2% to $495/st, while the Midwest HRC futures three-month price increased by 3.6% to $549/st.

LME billet three-month prices dropped 2.3% to $239/st.

Once again this month, Chinese prices in the index showed mixed, generally mild movements.

China billet prices increased by 1.6%, to $496/mt, while HRC prices decreased by 1.2% to $499/mt. Coking coal prices dropped by 5.4% to $248/mt, the largest Chinese price decline this month, while iron ore prices increased by 1.6% to around $63 per dry metric ton.