IREPAS chairman: Overall good sentiment in global long steel market

Monday, 15 March 2021 17:08:31 (GMT+3)   |   Istanbul

During his welcome speech at the SteelOrbis 2021 Spring Conference & 84th IREPAS Meeting held virtually on March 15, Murat Cebecioğlu, chairman of IREPAS, welcomed participants online for the just second time in the history of IREPAS, against the backdrop of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic. The latest installment of the IREPAS meeting attracted 228 representatives from steelmakers from 23 countries and 66 representatives from 31 different raw material suppliers.

The IREPAS chairman said that the current situation and sentiments are generally very good in the global long steel products market, with order books filled, winter coming to an end in the northern hemisphere, and vaccinations progressing. He pointed out that, with steel production increasing in many parts of the world, this signals high demand for raw materials and steel products during the spring season. On the other hand, he noted that the reopening of economies is driving inflationary pressure on everything from commodities to freight.

Mr. Cebecioğlu stressed that China currently is not interested in exports and is trying to cut back steel output. The country has already returned from its New Year holiday in a positive mood, while trade has resumed and prices have picked up, supported by warm weather conditions, according to the chairman. He also underlined that China aims to reduce pollution by 40 percent by the end of 2021 and that production shifting towards electric arc furnaces will increase the pressure on scrap prices.

The IREPAS official pointed out that protectionism is still a major problem. With imports down to historical lows in the EU, downstream industries are experiencing problems finding material, while international prices are even higher or equal to EU domestic prices. Commenting on EUROFER’s push for the extension of safeguard measures, he expressed the view that there are no threats of imports to the EU domestic market.

Regarding trade activities, Mr. Cebecioglu said that importers are dealing with shipping difficulties in terms of obtaining containers, resulting in both material and shipping prices being at historical highs. He also added that US President Joe Biden has no immediate plans to change the trade restrictions imposed by his predecessor, contributing to the difficulties being experienced by importers in the US as well.

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