SÃO PAULO — Brazilian slab export prices were unchanged last week, as buyers were hesitant about placing bids after recent developments related to the United States' Section 232 investigation.
Metal Bulletin's weekly price assessment for slab exports from Brazil was $580-590 per tonne fob on Friday June 8, stable from the previous week.
The market was momentarily halted due to measures taken in the US related to its investigation into national security issues and steel imports.
The US imposed a blanket tariff of 25% on steel imports from the European Union, Mexico and Canada on June 1. As a result, US slab importers remained on the sidelines to see how the market reacts to the measure.
"The market is at a [standstill] again," a source said.
The US has granted a quota for Brazilian steel shipments equivalent to 3.5 million tonnes per year of semi-finished material, meaning Brazil avoids the 25% import tariff.
And that quota is now widely considered as positive by market participants, as shipments in the first five months of the year have been lower than expected.
European clients have also been looking at Brazilian slab, but buyers are not willing to pay more than $530 per tonne fob for the material, sources told Metal Bulletin.
"Brazilian prices are not competitive in Europe," one source said.
Brazilian producers also had to deal with a national strike by truck drivers from May 18 to May 31.
Local slab producers were affected by the protests, which caused shortages of raw materials and led to production cuts.
And last week, the Brazilian government decided to amended the tax credits available in the "Reintegra" program, which grants credits to industrial companies that are equivalent to a percentage of their exports, reducing the rate to 0.1% from 2%.
"The [adjustment to] the Reintegra program will make exports more difficult," a trader said.