In August, the global steel market continued to differentiate, and the overall performance was down. The European market, which was affected by both weak demand and pressure from export resources, continued to bottom out in August. In the North American market, after the US steel mills announced the closure of several blast furnaces, they raised the price and pushed up the market. In August, the flat steel prices in the US market began to rise, and the long profile prices and import prices continued to decline. In the Asian market, prices fell in August, and China’s domestic steel market fell by 4.7% month-on-month. Looking ahead to September, we expect the global steel market to rebound moderately. The weak economy has led to a recovery in demand for steel in Europe. In addition, strict US steel import controls have also led to the selection of global steel export resources in the European market, so the European steel market is under greater pressure. In order to protect the European steel industry, the EU plans to reduce the annual increase in steel import quotas. EU steel companies say the local steel industry is being threatened by imported products. Therefore, the European Commission proposed to take further measures to prevent US steel and aluminum tariffs from causing a large number of foreign steel products to flood into the European market. In late August, the EU plans to reduce the annual increase in steel import quotas from the original 5% to 3% from October 1. The EU’s current steel import quota is based on the annual average import level for the three years from 2015 to 2017. Since then, the import quota will increase by 5% every July 1st. The European Iron and Steel Association (Eurofer) said that imports of finished steel products in the EU increased by 12% in 2018, but the local market grew by only 3.3%. Some analysts said that this may affect Turkey because Turkey has a large share of EU steel imports. The European flat steel market is expected to stabilize in August.
The weak demand for long products in Europe is the main reason for the sluggish performance of the long products market. Affected by this, the price of long products in Turkey has been falling due to continued weak demand. Europe is a major exporter of long products in Turkey, as demand is very weak, buyers hope that prices can be lower. It is expected that the long-term European long steel products market will continue to be weak. Under the protection of the US steel and aluminum taxation policy, US steel mills regained market price movements after the price experience fell. However, the rise in US steel prices is mainly due to the behavior of steel mills. The support for continued rise in the latter period is insufficient. It is expected that the US flat steel market is expected to stabilize in August. While US steel trade protection measures continued to push steel prices up in the first half of the year, they also encouraged US steel mills to expand production capacity. According to recent US crude steel production statistics, US steel capacity utilization rate climbed to 80.5%, and output increased by 3.2% over the same period last year. US steel mills began shutting down the blast furnace to cope with market changes. Due to the poor demand in the US construction industry, the price increase of steel mills is mainly in the flat steel market, and the US long products market continues to fall this month. Considering the rising market price of flat steel in the United States, it is expected that the US long profile market will bottom out in September. Korean steelmakers, including Posco and Hyundai Steel, have been seeking to increase the price of their thick steel plates (key materials for shipbuilding and automotive panels) in the second half of the year to compensate for the losses in the first half of the year due to high raw material costs. The drop in raw material prices has made these steel manufacturers very difficult.In September, China entered the traditional sales season. After a few months of correction, China’s domestic steel market is expected to rebound due to the rebound in demand.
In September, we believe that the overall market is expected to stabilize and rebound. As the global market decline continues for some time, the global market is actively intervening and adjusting, such as the US steel mills to reduce production capacity, the EU to strengthen import resource restrictions, etc., which will create conditions for the global steel market to stabilize. In North America, the US steel mill’s measures to limit the price increase, although failing to prevent the import market price from falling, the US market price has rebounded significantly, so the US steel market is expected to remain firm in September. The European market has experienced a period of sustained decline. Under the intervention of import resource restrictions in Europe, the European market is expected to stabilize in September, considering the recovery of the international steel market. In the Asian market, China’s domestic steel market entered a peak demand season, and it is expected to rebound in September after a sustained decline in the previous period. In summary, we believe that the international steel market is expected to stabilize in September.