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Metal News, Steel Prices

June 30, 2011

Ukraine’s steel pipe production go up

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According to the Ukrainian association of tube producers UkrTruboProm, in the current year Ukraine’s production of steel pipes may go up by 15-20 percent compared to 2010, to 2.2-2.3 million mt per year. However, the expected level of steel pipe production in 2011 is still lower than pre-crisis level of 2008, when Ukrainian companies produced 2.522 million mt of pipes.

Iron Ore, Metal News, Steel Prices

February 22, 2010

World Steel Output To Reach A Record High In 2010

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It has been forecasted from MEPS that world steel output at 1350 million tonnes in 2010. This will be an “all-time” high figure and represents an increase of approximately 11 percent over the anticipated outturn in the previous twelve months.

Blastfurnace iron production is also predicted to reach a record level in 2010. At 994 million tonnes, it would be almost 11 percent above the result a year earlier. Further significant gains are foreseen in 2011.

The last peak year for global iron and steelmaking occurred in 2007 at almost 947 and 1345 million tonnes, respectively. Our latest forecast for 2010 indicates that the return to past glory will take just three years. This compares with five years in the early 1980’s and eight years in the 1990’s.

The current short recovery period is almost entirely due to the economic stimulus packages put in place by the Chinese government. With China accounting for almost 50 percent of both supply and demand, strong activity in this country, will have a positive impact on the global steel scene.

The final figure for world steel output in 2009 is expected to be 1217.5 million tonnes – down by 8.2 percent, year on year. Blastfurnace iron production is predicted to have slipped to 896 million tonnes in the same period. This is 3.3 percent below the 2008 figure. Direct reduced ironmaking in 2009, at 62.3 million tonnes, will be an annual decrease of 9 percent.

Only four of the major producing countries in the world will post increases, year on year, for crude steel manufacturing in 2009. A substantial rise in Iran and modest improvement in Saudi Arabia will lead to gains in the Middle East. Substantially higher activity in the Chinese steel sector and steady progress in India will result in total Asian supply rising by in excess of 3 percent.

We predict output gains across all regions over the next two years. Double digit percentage increases are anticipated for most of the industrialised nations in 2010 as they partly recover from large reductions in the previous twelve month period. More modest rises are envisaged for the developing countries in the CIS, Africa, South America, Middle East and Asia.

The 2009 steel output in the EU-27 will be close to 138 million tonnes – 30 percent below the outturn in the previous year. Double digit reductions in steel manufacturing took place in all the nineteen producing member states.

The mills in Belgium, Bulgaria and Sweden took the biggest hit with almost 50 percent decreases in output. Greece, Luxembourg and Slovakia were the least badly affected.

Raw steel production in the rest of Western Europe in 2009 will be approximately 29 million tonnes. This represents a reduction of almost 9 percent on the result in the previous year. The outturn for blastfurnace ironmaking will be marginally down, due to new capacity installed recently in Turkey.

Crude steelmaking in the CIS showed a mini revival in the second half of 2009 but still recorded a figure of below 100 million tonnes for the first time since 2001. The year on year decrease was close to 15 percent. Local demand in most countries of the region has started to pick up. We forecast blastfurnace iron and steel production in 2010 rising to 77.6 and 100.5 million tonnes, respectively – an increase of approximately 8 percent over the previous year’s figure.

The global recession had a major impact on the steel sector in the NAFTA region in 2009. Output fell by one third, year on year. The integrated mills took the biggest hit. Blastfurnace iron production fell by approximately 40 percent across the region.

South American steel production declined by just above 20 percent, year on year, in 2009. Both domestic and export demand fell dramatically as the global economic recession set in. On a positive note, output started to recover in the second half of the year. Further gains are predicted to occur in 2010 and 2011 in both iron and steelmaking. In fact, we forecast a new record high level of steelmaking in the region in the latter year.

Total African steelmaking in 2009 fell by approximately 20 percent, year on year. However, we predict a solid recovery in 2010 but it will be insufficient to reach the outturns in the period 2006 to 2008. In fact, it is likely to be several years before new record high levels are achieved.

Middle East steel production continued to prosper in 2009, despite the global economic crisis. Output will be an “all time high” at well in excess of 17 million tonnes. Further solid growth will occur in the following two years as new plants come on stream. Steelmaking should climb to near 20 million tonnes in 2011.

Crude steel output in Asia in 2009 was approximately 3 percent above the figure reported in the previous year. At over 790 million tonnes, this is a new record output and represents eleven consecutive years of growth. New all time peak values are forecast for 2010 and 2011.

Most of the expansion of steelmaking has been undertaken, via the blastfurnace/oxygen steelmaking route. Consequently, pig iron production has also increased to reach a figure of approaching 675 million tonnes in 2009. This pattern will extend well into the future.

Iron Ore, Metal News, Steel Prices

November 26, 2009

China Crude Steel Output Reach 600 mlt in 2009

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It is reported by the CISA(China Iron and Steel Association) that China would produce 600 million tonnes of crude steel this year, far higher than last year’s 500 million and this year’s target output of 460 million.

China’s daily crude steel output remained at a high level in the first 10 days of November, though it dropped moderately from that in October.

Data from CISA show that the country’s 71 mid- and large-sized steel enterprises produced 1.62 million metric tonnes of crude steel every day in the first 10-day of this month, down 2.9 percent from October.

Crude steel output amounted to 472 million tonnes in the first 10 months, jumping 10.5 percent year on year.

The slight decline of daily output in early November was partly due to a seasonal overhaul. Analysts said that steel plants are unlikely to cut output significantly for this year’s remainder as present steel prices still allow them to make profits.

Metal News, Steel Prices

November 22, 2009

China Private Steel Plants Seeking Expansion


It is reported that China’s private-run steel makers are attempting to expand themselves through mergers and acquisitions (M&As) before being acquired by large players.

The General Steel Incorporation is one of them in doing so. The Tianjin-based private-run steel maker announced on Wednesday that it had signed an agreement with another Chinese private steel maker, Tanshan Baotai Steel in Hebei province, to acquire a 60 percent stake of the latter.

Through the acquisition, General Steel’s production capacity, after increasing 23 percent to 7.8 million tonnes per year, would be one of China’s leading private-run steel makers.

Wang Baocai, chairman of board of Baotai Steel, comments that the acquisition is also favorable for Baotai given that industrial integration is an inevitable trend.

China is expected to release guidelines for restructuring its steel industry calling for higher concentration. With four big state-run steel makers and many small and medium-sized ones, China’s steel industry now has a supply surplus and a low industrial concentration, both of which will toll China while negotiating with international ore suppliers including Rio Tinto, BHP Billiton, and Vale.

Market watchers believe that the restructure plan may spark an industrial reshuffle in which most of small and medium sized steel makers would be swallowed up.

Since General Steel is a NYSE-listed firm, market watchers reckon that it may serve as a conduit for foreign capital to enter into China’s steel industry via the capital market.

General Steel’s Q3 report shows that it gained operational turnover of 1.21 billion US dollars in the first three quarters, yielding 75.15 million dollars of net profit.

Iron Ore, Metal News, Steel Prices

November 9, 2009

China Steel Industry Would Meets Energy Saving

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It is reported that China Business News quoted sources with related knowledge said the Steel Industry Development Policy would tighten up the requirements in energy saving and emission reduction and adopt more flexible foreign trade measures in its latest amendment.

In terms of energy consumption, the amended guidelines would set up a higher target for leading Chinese mills. By 2015, they are required to achieve comprehensive energy consumption per tonne of steel of no more than 615 kilogram standard coal and sulfur dioxide emissions to be cut to 1.3 kilogram, smoke dust emissions to 0.8 kilogram. And steelmakers also need to meet both quantity and density limits of pollutants emissions by 2020.

The Steel Industry Restructuring and Rejuvenation Program, released in early this year has hammered out the targets to be achieved by 2011 which include comprehensive energy consumption per tonne of steel at no more than 620 kilogram standard coal, fresh water consumption per ton of steel below 5 tonnes and sulfur dioxide emissions to be cut to 1.8 kilogram, smoke dust emissions to 1.0 kilogram.

According to senior official with Taiyuan Steel Group the new industry policy would drive domestic mills to accomplish these aims in advance and this would also help phase out the obsolete steel capacity as well.

Chinese mills have suffered a string of setbacks in the benchmark ore talks these years. In a bid to gain a bigger say in annual negotiations, the authorities intend to set up a mutual beneficial trading scheme with the ore miners and are determined to put the iron ore trading agent system into practice. Both are being added to the new guidelines this time.

The new policy would also encourage import of primary products like pig iron and scrap in order to ease the supply strain in domestic market. On the other hand, the government would curb export of primary products, such as coke, ferroalloy, pig iron, scrap and rebar, while high end steel exports would be entitled to higher tax rebate.

Moreover, the requirement for steel conglomerates with annual steel capacity of over 5 million tonnes to fulfill external power supply after meeting internal demand has been scrapped this time. And those mills who are eligible for making overall development plans need to produce over 10 million tonnes of steel in 2008 compared with the threshold of over 5 million tonnes per year of steel output in 2003 in earlier edition.

Metal News, Steel Prices

China Steel Pipe Facing Overcapacity

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It is reported that China’s steel pipe sector is facing worsening overcapacity this year due to rapid expansion of capacities but falling demand from exports.

Data from the China Steel Construction Society (CSC) show that the country’s steel pipe capacity reached 55 million tons by the end of 2008, compared with annual output of 44.16 million tons. CSC predicts that this sector’s total capacity will approach 60 million tons by 2010, more than 15 million tons higher than the actual demand.

In the past several years, China’s steel pipe sector expanded its capacities quickly due to strong demand on the international market and price advantage of domestic pipes.

However, in the background of faltering overseas demand this year, the steel pipe sector’s overcapacity has become obvious.

Yan Zhesheng, chairman of the China Steel Pipe Association under the CSC, noted that the rising trade protectionism has further damaged China’s steel pipe exports. The U.S. initiated anti-dumping and countervailing investigations into seamless steel pipes imported from China in early October and decided to slap preliminary anti-dumping duties on made-in-China steel pipes on November 5.

Therefore, China’s steel pipe exports may suffer persistent impact from trade protectionism in the following observation period for anti-dumping and anti-subsidy investigations usually ranging from three to five years.

Metal News, Steel Prices

October 18, 2009

Domestic Demand Motivating China Steel Production Mainly

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It is said from Li Shijun (vice secretary general of CISA) that motivation for the steel production in China mainly comes from domestic development when demand on the international market is declining, said .

The development is sustainable even after the Chinese government’s huge economic stimulus plan comes to an end. The government’s economic stimulus plan, especially the large-scale investment in infrastructure construction, has boosted China’s steel industry to recover ahead of other countries.

China’s 80,000-kilometer railway network saw the construction of another 30,000 new kilometers underway this year. Some 2.39 million tons of rail tracks have been produced in the first half of this year, up 105 percent over a year ago.

However, Li noted it is unnecessary to worry about the China’s steel industry would lose development momentum after the government’s stimulus plan comes to end.

The automotive industry, an important steel consumer, has witnessed a considerable sales this year with the government’s stimulus plan, and it still has plenty of room for development in China even without the stimulus plan, Li added.

At present, China owns only 37 units of automobiles for every 1,000 people on average, while the world’s figure has already reached 140 units.

Meanwhile, the country’s urbanization will also support steel industry development, though Li warned not to over-estimate the effect of this.