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Home > MEPS Steel News - 31.08.2018

Uncertainty and Price Volatility Unsettle the Emerging Steel Markets

distributors are extremely reluctant to purchase material in, what they deem as, precarious business conditions. End-user groups are acquiring material only for their short-term needs. Price support from export demand is negligible. The Instituto Ašo Brasil (IABr) reports that, in July, domestic production of finished steel totalled 1.903 million tonnes – up 2.7 percent compared with the previous year’s figure. Meanwhile, steel imports increased by 1.1 percent, year-on-year, to 177,000 tonnes. 

Russian steel producers are divided about the prospects for domestic steel consumption in the final four months of 2018. Bearish trading houses are booking for only immediate requirements, citing the uncertainty about whether industrial activity and construction work will improve. Project completion is usually expedited before the onset of the winter.

Purchasing volumes in India are forecast to be stable, in the next trading period. Potential customers are staying out of the market. Price volatility is hampering trading. Stockists are forecasting that sales volumes will begin to improve from mid-October onwards.

Ukrainian steelmakers are expected to push for price increases next month, despite mediocre demand from pipe fabricators and the construction sector. Distributors are postponing forward procurement decisions, owing to their tepid sales and tight cash flow.

The economic crisis is escalating in Turkey. MEPS notes little appetite for purchasing, at present, among manufacturing and construction firms. Producers failed to stabilise transaction values for both flat and long finished steel products. Downward price pressure is being exacerbated by weakening market fundamentals and the depreciation of the Turkish lira against the US dollar. Sales to end-users and distributors are forecast to be tepid, in September.

Buying activity in the United Arab Emirates is weaker than forecast, this month. Service centres are reluctant to purchase material, citing volatile import price quotations and the Eid al-Adha holiday. Export opportunities are limited outside the GCC region.

The prognosis for the South African steel market is unchanged. The likelihood of improvement, in the fourth quarter, is minimal. Steel-consuming engineering and manufacturing firms are reluctant to increase production capacity in the absence of a sustainable upturn in end-user demand. Stockists reiterate that their suppliers’ plans to lift prices, for September deliveries, are counterproductive and would result in an escalation in import tonnages.

Mexican steel traders report that domestic material is overpriced. The majority of these firms plan to closely monitor the domestic-import price premium before deciding their source of supply. Similarly, end-users remain hesitant about purchasing at current market price levels.

Source: MEPS - Developing Markets Steel Review - August 2018 Edition

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