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Tuesday, April 7, 2020

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Middle East Steel News

Turkey: US revises dumping margins on Turkish origin rebar imports
Iraq: Liberty Ostrava supplies tubes for one of the world's largest oil fields in south of Iraq
Pakistan: Steel industry seeks approval to restart operations
Oman: Asyad group floats tender for mixed-use project in Muscat

Global Steel News

China: Iron ore futures nearly stable as demand concerns offset stimulus boost
China: HBIS to commission rod mill in Shijiazhuang
India: JSW Steel prepares to restart operations once virus-related curbs are over
Bangladesh: Steel firms face significant losses as virus disrupts supply chain
General News: Global long steel market faces challenges amid coronavirus pandemic - IREPAS


New (Renewed) Steel Companies on MEsteel
Company Country Steel tons handled per year (kt) Brief Description
UNITED IRON & STEEL CO LLC U.A.E. 100-500 MManufacturer of Galvanized Steel and Prepainted Steel Coils.

Middle East Steel News

US revises dumping margins on Turkish origin rebar imports

The US Department of Commerce has announced the final results of its administrative review of the antidumping duty against rebar imports from Turkey.

Accordingly, the dumping margins for Turkish exporters ICDAS, Kaptan, Colakoglu and Habas have been revised to zero.

The review covered the period between March 7, 2017 and June 30, 2018.

The cash deposit rate for all other producers or exporters will continue to be 7.26 pct.

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Liberty Ostrava supplies tubes for one of the world's largest oil fields in south of Iraq

Liberty Ostrava has completed a significant order to manufacture 11km of seamless tubes for the West Qurna oil field in the south of Iraq, one of the largest oil fields in the world. The tubes are made of high quality steel with high resilience to heat and acid.

Unlike some products, Oil Country Tubular Goods have to comply with the most stringent parameters and undergo a wide range of testing which confirm, among other things, that the material used for their production can weather even environments rich in sulphide acids. The Ostrava tubular mill delivered to Iraq nearly 11 km of seamless tubes, made of vacuum degassed steel, all of which was equipped with insulation which allow the pipes to resist temperatures of up to 80 Celsius.

The West Qurna oil field (Phase II) contains up to 14 bln barrels of oil and stretches at an area of 340 square kilometres. It falls under the state-owned Iraq National Oil Company which manages oil drilling in the south of Iraq in cooperation with Lukoil multinational corporation.

Liberty Ostrava is an integrated steel business with an annual production capacity of approximately 3.6 mln tons per annum serving construction, machinery and oil & gas industries. The company is a domestic leader in the manufacture of road barriers and tubes. In addition to the Czech market, it supplies its products to more than 40 countries around the world. It is part of Liberty Steel Group, which is part of GFG Alliance, a collection of global businesses and investments owned by Sanjeev Gupta and his family.

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Steel industry seeks approval to restart operations

Following the announcement of a special package for the construction sector by Prime Minister Imran Khan, the steel industry has requested the premier to allow it to resume operations as without steel the construction segment will be unable to move forward.

Pakistan Association of Large Steel Producers Secretary General Syed Wajid Bukhari praised the announcement, saying the stimulus would open job opportunities for the country's workforce.

"Needless to say that steel is the backbone of the construction industry. We urge the government to immediately open the steel sector, especially all those mills that have labour colonies or residential arrangements for their workforce within the premises of their plants," he added.

The official pointed out that many steel companies had arrangements for their employees within the plant vicinity and 70-80pct of the industry could function through these employees in line with the safety measures necessary to combat Covid-19.

"In our well-considered view, unless the government allows the steel sector to start production, it will be impossible for the construction sector to take up its projects."

Bukhari said any delay in opening up steel mills to start production could lead to delay in the entire initiative of the government to revive the construction sector, adding that the government had allowed the cement sector to continue its operations. The official lamented that the sector was already suffering and faced further downturn when the rupee depreciated.

"The rupee lost almost 40pct of its value against the dollar in the last one year, and another blow came to the steel sector when the interest rate skyrocketed to one of its historic peaks." He said withdrawal of the Special Procedural Rules 2007 for the steel sector in the previous budget also came as a blow, which doubled tax to around 17pct.

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Asyad group floats tender for mixed-use project in Muscat

Oman Global Logistics Group (Asyad Group) has invited bids from top firms for development of a prime land owned by Mwasalat, the sultanate's public transport services company, in Azaiba region of capital Muscat.

As per the notification, interested parties can submit a proposal to develop a residential, commercial or a mixed-use project on the 54,104-sq-m prime land in Al Athaibah region of capital Muscat.

The contractual agreement with potential investor and developer will include a design, build, finance, operate and transfer development model.

The deadline for submitting the bids is August 17, it added.

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Global Steel News

Iron ore futures nearly stable as demand concerns offset stimulus boost

Iron ore and steel futures rose on Tuesday supported by Beijing's measures to shore up the world's second-largest economy and a drop in the coronavirus cases, though gains were capped by worries over demand.

The most active iron ore contract for September delivery was nearly unchanged at 569.5 yuan (USD 81) per ton.

China's central bank said on Friday it was cutting the amount of cash that small banks must hold as reserves, releasing around 400 bln yuan (USD 56.38 bln) in liquidity to shore up the economy, which has been badly jolted by the coronavirus crisis.

But economists are forecasting a steep contraction in China's first quarter gross domestic product. Some expect a year-year slump of 9pct or more, the first such contraction in at least three decades.

Imported iron ore inventories at China's major ports fell for the eighth consecutive week over March 27-April 2 to 115.3 mln tons, due to decline in shipments from major suppliers however analysts anticipate that the steel demand could remain under pressure over the virus outbreak, which is a potential risk to the iron ore demand.

"We estimate that a return to steel-production parity means futures prices may have to trade in around USD 70-75 per ton, which means at current levels of almost USD 80 per ton, iron ore remains relatively expensive." Howie Lee, an economist at OCBC Bank, said.

"We note that inventory levels of iron ore in China are falling and as such, prices may stick closer to the upper end of the parity range."

According to the China Iron and Steel Association (CISA) daily crude steel output dropped 0.42 pct YoY in the last ten days of March 2020 to 1.826 mln tons per day. Daily steel output also declined by 0.53 pct when compared to steel production during March 10-20, 2020.

The most active October 2020 contract for hot rolled coils was up 27 yuan to closed at 3,063 yuan a ton. The most active construction steel rebar contract for October delivery was up 3 yuan to 3,206 yuan a ton.

After widespread factory closures and travel restrictions imposed by Beijing to contain the spread of the coronavirus businesses in the country have reopened but demand has been slower to recover. Steel exports are also likely to remain weak as virus outbreak have suppressed demand globally. Competitive offers from India, Korea, Japan and Russia are also keeping Chinese suppliers out from traditional markets like Vietnam. Chinese HRC offers are in the range of USD 415-430 per ton FOB whereas non-Chinese origin offers are well below USD 400 per ton CFR Vietnam.

Futures also increase on signs that the coronavirus spread may be slowing. China reported no new coronavirus deaths for the first time since the pandemic emerged. The most affected countries in Europe reported lower numbers of new cases, while New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said the virus-related fatality rate was effectively flat for two days.

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HBIS to commission rod mill in Shijiazhuang

To comply with environmental regulations and improve production, HBIS Shijiazhuang Iron & Steel Co. Ltd. has signed a contract with Primetals Technologies for a new steel rod mill in Shijiazhuang, Hebei Province, People's Republic of China. The plant, which is being relocated from within Shijiazhuang City limits because of environmental protection rules, will feature high-capacity Morgan Reducing Sizing Mill (RSM) technology for thermo-mechanical rolling of larger diameter products. Start-up is expected in late 2020.

The new plant will provide improved tolerance and mechanical properties for high-quality carbon steel products. The mill will include a high-speed rod outlet with 250 "V" pre-finishing mill, 680 shear, eight-stand 250/230 Morgan Vee No-Twist Mill, 250/150 RSM, Pinch Roll/Laying Head, an 11-zone Morgan Stelmor Conveyor and a stepless reform station. The plant will have an annual capacity of 400,000 tons and is designed for output speeds of 115 meters per second. Rods ranging from 5 to 25 millimeters in steel grades including alloyed structural, bearing, spring, free cutting, tire cord, welding wire, cold heading quality (CHQ), and tool steel will be manufactured from billets of 200 millimeters square and 150 millimeters square.

HBIS Shijiazhuang Iron & Steel Co. Ltd., which is based in Shijiazhuang, produces quality carbon steels, spring steel and bearing steel for automotive, cold heading applications, welding wire and wire rope. The company is a subsidiary of HBIS Group Co. Ltd., which was founded in 2008. The company also has purchased a bar mill from Primetals Technologies that is in operation and is not part of the relocation. HBIS Group has several rod mills from Primetals Technologies in Handan and Xuan Hua.

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JSW Steel prepares to restart operations once virus-related curbs are over

As the 21-day lockdown period is nearing end, private steel maker JSW Steel has started preparing to scale up its production. On March 25, the Sajjan Jindal-led JSW Steel said the company has decided to scale down or suspend production during the lockdown due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The manufacturing operations in all of its locations have been either scaled down or suspended, it said adding that consequently, the capacity utilisation is expected to go down significantly during this lockdown period.

While releasing the production figures for the financial year 2019-20, JSW Steel announced, "it is making all preparations to recommence operations at all locations on lifting of lockdown in the next few days."

During the financial year ended March 31, the company's crude steel output stood at 16.06 mln tons, down 4 pct from 16.69 mln tons in 2018-19.

The production of flat rolled products fell 3 pct to 11.35 mln tons from 11.74 mln tons in the previous financial year, while the output of long rolled products reduced by 4 pct to 3.72 mln tons from 3.87 mln tons in the financial year 2018-19.

During the January-March 2020 period, the output was at 3.97 mln tons, down 5 pct as compared with 4.17 mln tons in the same period of the previous financial year.

The production of flat rolled products during the last quarter fell by 5 pct to 2.87 mln tons from 3.01 mln tons in year-ago-period, while the output of long rolled products reduced by 4 pct to 0.95 mln tons from 0.99 mln tons in the fourth quarter of the financial year 2018-19.

The company attributed the reductions in production levels to "the slowdown in economic activity due to unanticipated breakout of the COVID-19 pandemic and consequent nationwide lockdown in the later part of March 2020 led to a sharp fall in production across the plant locations".

Part of the USD 14-bln JSW Group, JSW Steel has steel plants in Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Maharashtra with a total production capacity of 18 mln ton per annum.

Its manufacturing facility at Vijayanagar, Karnataka, is the largest single location steel-producing facility in India with a capacity of 12 mln tons per annum.

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Steel firms face significant losses as virus disrupts supply chain

Steel manufacturers are bracing for massive losses as the coronavirus pandemic has disrupted the import of raw materials and production, a development that will also deal a blow to real estate and infrastructure projects.

In the first two weeks of March, the steelmakers' losses amounted to Tk 350 crore, said Manwar Hossain, president of Bangladesh Steel Mills Owners Association.

If the situation goes on like this for the next four months, the losses will run north of Tk 4,000 crore, said Hossain, also the managing director of Anwar Group of Industries that owns Anwar Ispat.

Not only raw materials, steel manufacturers are unable to bring in spare parts or capital machinery for the near standstill of economic activities around the world, he said, adding that about eight mln empty containers are now stranded in the Chinese ports alone.

To tide them over during this trying period, steelmakers are demanding some policy support, but not funds from the government.

Banks can extend the tenure of payment for letters of credit by an additional six months without the need for taking prior permission from the central bank, Hossain said, while calling for a fund for short-term loans against LCs.

The country has about 40 active manufacturers, who altogether have the capacity to manufacture nine mln tons of steel a year. Of them, Abul Khair Steel, GPH Steel, BSRM and KSRM meet more than half the annual demand for about eight mln tons.

"We have been left in a pickle as the pandemic has broken the supply chain of all the countries from where we source our raw materials," said Shahidullah, managing director of Metrocem Steel.

Sales of steel products declined during the last two months because of a slowdown in construction works for some of the big infrastructure projects of the government, while private consumption also went down significantly, Shahidullah added.

The impact of production disruption in the steel industry will not be felt straightaway for the Padma bridge and Karnaphuli river tunnel projects, which have a stock of construction materials, said Jamilur Reza Choudhury, a renowned civil engineer.

But the works of other projects like the Dhaka-Chattogram elevated expressway will be hampered.

"Against the backdrop, the overall implementation of the infrastructure projects may slow down for the time being," said Choudhury, also a consultant of the government's major infrastructure projects.

The government's infrastructure projects account for 35-40 pct of the total steel consumption in Bangladesh, up from 15 pct a decade ago, according to Shahidullah.

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Global long steel market faces challenges amid coronavirus pandemic - IREPAS
General News

According to the IREPAS (International Rebar Producers & Exporters Association) short range outlook for April 2020, it has become extremely difficult to predict the supply and demand situation in the global long steel products market. The impact of the coronavirus pandemic on overall economic situations or conditions in countries and regions will be at different levels, which might change the dynamics of steel demand and production separately.

IREPAS sees markets have become regionalized and this trend is now being reinforced. Some regions may see shortages and some others may see surpluses. It will take more time for these to be balanced out, or significant price differences may become persistent as was experienced decades ago.

As the Covid-19 virus has moved from China to the rest of the world, we have observed some disparity between regions. Some rebuilding and stimulus going on in China has propped up pricing and demand. In many parts of the rest of the world, we are in the early or middle stage of the lockdown. This simultaneously affects supply and demand. Some have to stop production due to intricate supply chains being breached during the lockdown periods. Some have lost orders. Most businesses are running at significantly lower rates, if at all.

The stoppages of active steel production capacities are not really being coordinated. Far too much capacity will disappear at the same time in certain regions. It is highly likely that these production capacities will come back to the market in just as quick and uncoordinated a manner.

In Brazil, the official forecast for GDP has changed from +2.1 pct to -1.18 pct and the major steel producers are announcing stoppages to balance supply and demand. Steel demand in Brazil may fall 20 pct this year as per the latest forecast by IABR (Instituto Aco Brasil). Likewise, there are many mills announcing stoppages in Europe and in Turkey, where the economies are facing serious challenges.

Oil prices have tumbled as global demand has plummeted. Raw material prices have followed suit. Incoming raw material supply is slowing down fast. Projections are difficult to make. In some cases, demand is still good but raw material needs cannot be filled. This is a very unusual situation. Ferrous scrap availability is significantly lower as industry and trade has been grinding to a halt through the Western world.

The pick-up in activity after the coronavirus crisis observed in China gives at least some sort of hope to the rest of the world currently in lockdown. China is also showing some recovery in the long steel segment amid strong investment from the government.

On a separate note, conversion margins are still stable, not large enough, but stable.

However, the current situation in the global long steel products market can be described as clearly unstable, just like global and regional politics and economies, and like the progress of the virus pandemic.

Under these circumstances, the second quarter will be one of volume survival, and the fate of the global longs market in the third quarter will be determined by how the virus peaks. There is definitely no reason for economic activity not to rebound once we are past the peak of the virus crisis. All we have to avoid is social unrest.

There will be massive capacity reductions from scrap to billets to long products during the second quarter, on top of the Easter and Ramadan periods and the uncertain evolution of the impact of the coronavirus. The second quarter of 2020 will likely be a low point in pricing and volumes. The main question will be how long after that it will take to return to normality.

Protectionism can be expected to continue and perhaps may be intensified as countries try to put their domestic problems first. Regionalization will be more the norm.

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Metal Prices 6-Apr-20

Product Cash 3 Mons.
Nickel 11.162 11.217
Tin 14.407 14.295
Zinc 1.852,50 1.868,50
Source: LME.co.uk

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