IREPAS: China contributing to uncertainty in global steel market

Tuesday, 10 November 2020 17:44:08 (GMT+3)   |   Istanbul

IREPAS, the global association of producers and exporters of long steel products, has stated that steel demand which has been severely affected by Covid-19 will recover in 2021 not only in China, but globally. However, while European and US producers are protected by trade measures, countries such as Russia, Ukraine, Turkey, Iran and Brazil may face significant challenges next year. In particular, taking into account that China’s imports of HBI, pig iron, slabs and billets have started to decline lately, it cannot be excluded that China will switch back from being a net importer to being a net exporter during the next four months. However, no major changes are expected until after the Chinese New Year holidays.

A possible lifting of China’s scrap import ban would also weigh on the development of the global steel market. There is some uncertainty as to whether there would be enough scrap to supply to China, with its significantly increased steel capacities, but it is expected that major suppliers may revise their prices upwards at once.

IREPAS highlighted the ongoing protectionist policies, especially in the EU and the US, as a result of which the global long steel products market has become even more regionalized. However, although the US market is still oversupplied with subdued demand, Biden’s victory in the US election has given rise to discussions about an eventual withdrawal of the Section 232 safeguard measures.

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