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Steel recovery strengthens, but geopolitical uncertainty clouds outlook

The World Steel Association (worldsteel) Friday released its Short Range Outlook (SRO) for 2017 and 2018. worldsteel forecasts that global steel demand will increase by 1.3% to 1,535.2 Mt in 2017, following growth of 1.0% in 2016. In 2018, it is forecast that global steel demand will grow by 0.9% and will reach 1,548.5 Mt. Commenting on the outlook, Mr T.V. Narendran, Chairman of the worldsteel Economics Committee said, “In 2016, steel demand recovery was stronger than expected with the upside mostly coming from China. We believe in 2017 and ...

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China iron ore jumps 7 pct as steel extends gains after selloff

Chinese iron ore futures surged 7 percent on Friday, extending hefty gains for a second session along with steel prices, after a recent selloff that market participants thought was overdone. Both commodities plunged to their lowest since January in the previous session amid worries over well-supplied markets and slow demand. The surge in Chinese futures came as shares of most Asian steelmakers rose, deflecting the first salvo of a long-anticipated anti-dumping campaign from U.S. President Donald Trump. Citing concerns about national security, Trump on Thursday launched a trade probe against ...

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Thermal coal demand to cool off

Coal imports into the country are unlikely to rise, thanks to a surge in domestic coal production, but the demand for coal from new thermal power plants is likely to taper off after five years and leave some coal mining assets stranded, according to a report released on Thursday by S&P Global Platts. “A rapid expansion in domestic production has seen Indian thermal coal imports peak. Targets for boosting output remain ambitious, but are likely to be sufficiently successful to further reduce the country’s dependence on imported coal,” the report ...

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Copper prices up on supply concerns

Supply concerns helped copper higher on Friday but the metal was still on track for a third week of losses due to fund selling earlier in the week on fears political instability could hurt global growth. Support for copper prices came from a series of supply issues, said Dee Perera at brokers Marex Spectron. “You’ve got Rio Tinto production lower than expected in Q1, Freeport announced a potential strike, and today you had on-warrant stocks decline for a second session in a row,” she said. * LME COPPER: Three-month copper ...

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Demand for steel rebars in UAE to increase by 10% in 2017

Steel consumption of the UAE market in 2017 is set to increase by 10 per cent as compared to 2016, while the domestic production capacity to address these volumes is already in place. Members of ‘Magnet’, a UAE-based platform to discuss and disseminate insights on the steel industry, said that the current steel market outlook is very stable in terms of demand and supply in the wake of the rise in the number of infrastructure-development projects since the beginning of this year is in line with the strong recovery of ...

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Wheat hits 4-month low on ample supplies, soybeans tick up

Chicago wheat futures were little changed on Friday after dropping to a four-month low earlier in the session, pressured by plentiful global supplies. Soybeans ticked higher, recouping the previous session’s decline, while corn edged up after dropping more than 1 percent on Thursday. FUNDAMENTALS * For the week, July wheat contract has given up almost 5 percent, the biggest weekly decline in eight months. Corn has lost 3.5 percent after gaining almost 3 percent last week, and soybeans are down 0.6 percent, giving up some of last week’s gains. * ...

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Despite adverse weather, Vale reports Q1 iron-ore record

The world’s largest iron-ore producer, Vale, has lifted production of the steel-making ingredient to a new record high in the first quarter ended March, touching 86.2-million tonnes despite inclement weather. The diversified miner boosted iron-ore output by 11.2% over the comparable quarter of 2016, despite production falling 6.7% over the December quarter, resulting in 6.2-million tons lower output over the prior quarter as “usual weather-related seasonality” in the first quarter impacted on the performance of the northern system. The year-on-year improvement was mainly attributable to the ramp-up of the giant ...

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Russian steel group Severstal’s iron ore pellet prices surge in Q1

Russian steel and mining group Severstal said Thursday iron ore pellet sale prices averaged $86/mt in the first quarter, up from $36/mt in Q1 2016, while export sales were mainly directed to Europe and Middle East markets. Severstal’s Karelsky Okatysh mining unit sold pellets at $49/mt in Q4 2016, as prices gained over the previous year following global demand for alternatives to replace Samarco’s idled 30.5 million mt/year pellet capacity in Brazil. In Q1 2017, while benefiting from higher prices, Severstal said iron ore pellet sales increased 7% year on ...

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Auctions may help private coal miners tap 100 million tonnes

Private players will be able to bid for mines with about 100 million tonnes of coal reserves in the initial phase of auctions for commercial mining rights, a top Coal Ministry official said. The auction will follow a simple and transparent process for selecting eligible bidders, he said. “Today is certainly the right time for allowing commercial mining. The leverage of interested parties to disrupt the supply of coal is minimal, so the timing is right,” said Vivek Bharadwaj, Joint Secretary in the Coal Ministry, brushing aside concerns about the ...

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Freeport warns Indonesia copper mine workers as Grasberg strike looms

Copper miner Freeport-McMoRan Inc warned on Friday it would punish workers for absenteeism at its Indonesian unit, a day after one of its main unions announced plans to go on a one-month strike over employment conditions. Tensions are rising around Grasberg, the world’s second-biggest copper mine, after operator Freeport laid off thousands of workers there to stem losses from an ongoing dispute with the Indonesian government over mining rights. While Freeport is expecting to soon seal agreements with Jakarta to allow it to temporarily resume copper concentrate exports after a ...

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BHP Billiton plans $204M expansion of coal mine

BHP Billiton Ltd. (BHP.AU) is planning a US$204 million expansion of its coking-coal operations in eastern Australia to increase production of the steelmaking ingredient and reduce overall operating costs. BHP and venture partner Mitsubishi Corp. (8058.TO) on Friday approved the investment in their Caval Ridge mine, where they plan to build a 6.8-mile overland conveyer system to transport coal from the neighboring Peak Downs mine to a preparation plant. The project is expected to create up to 400 jobs during construction and 200 ongoing operations roles, said Mike Henry, president ...

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China says enforcing North Korea coal ban seriously, no violation

China is enforcing its policy against North Korean coal imports seriously, and there have been no violations, the foreign ministry said on Friday after a report that North Korean ships had entered a Chinese port where coal imports are offloaded. Following repeated North Korean missile tests that drew international criticism, China in February banned all imports of coal from its reclusive neighbour, cutting off its most important export product. Reuters reported on April 11 that several North Korean cargo ships, most fully laden, were heading home after China’s customs department ...

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Robust steel output in China shifts from being good to bad

In the first two months of the year, China’s steel and iron ore prices were surging because output was growing strongly, but now they are falling for exactly the same reason. Perhaps it’s just proof that eventually you can have too much of a good thing, or more likely, another example of how investors try to shape the market narrative to suit what they want to happen. In this case, increasing steel output at the start of 2017 was viewed as proof of the strength of the Chinese economy and ...

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Brazil’s Vale Iron Ore Production Up 11% in Quarter

Brazilian mining giant Vale SA said Thursday its output of iron ore hit a record for the first quarter as its massive S11D mine in the Amazon continued to ramp up. Vale, the world’s largest producer of iron ore and nickel, said its production of the former rose 11% in the January-March period from a year earlier to 86.2 million metric tons. The company’s nickel output fell 2.9% year-on-year to 71,400 metric tons due to maintenance stoppages. Problems at Vale’s smelter in Thompson, Canada, such a “hot metal leak” that ...

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India: Steel makers feel the heat of input cost rise

The recent increase in prices of iron ore and coking coal has made steel manufacturing costlier by at least Rs 8,000 a tonne for producers without captive mines. This is likely to put pressure on their margins, being unable to pass on the extra cost to consumers in a market situation where domestic demand is subdued. Of the 122 million tonnes installed capacity of steel in the country, about 70 per cent come from industries without captive mines, dependent on iron ore bought from merchant miners. The price of iron ...

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