LONDON The global market
for steel long products will likely show greater stability in
the short term due to a rise in activity since the start of the
year, the International Rebar Exporters and Producers
Association (Irepas) said, expressing optimism that worldwide
demand will rise amid higher raw material prices.
"Increasing raw material prices
are stimulating undecided buyers to book tonnages now, on a
bigger scale and with even longer lead times," the association
Higher raw material costs are
expected to last through the first quarter of this year.
Iron ore prices have risen as
China plans for significant infrastructure investments, and
Chinese producers are thought to be moving away from export
activity due to rising domestic demand.
On the European side, not enough
capacity has been idled, although demand in most European Union
countries has continued to fall, Irepas said.
Ferrous scrap prices are being
pushed up by the combined effect of winter in the Northern
Hemisphere and higher iron ore prices, the association
Demand for raw materials remains
healthy in the Northern Hemisphere, although the underlying
situation will only become clear after the replenishment of
winter inventories has been completed, Irepas said.
In North America, demand for
rebar has remained unchanged so far, but prices for long
products have risen due to higher raw materials prices,
creating some difficulty in the market.
Changes in import rules in some
markets in the Middle East and North Africa (Mena) region and
in the South American markets have increased competition levels
in other countries, Irepas said.
"There is enormous competition
in the E.U. market," including third-party competition and
competition between mills in the region, the association said,
adding that the mid- to long-term outlook remains "unstable and
Lakshmi Mittal, chief executive
officer of Luxembourg-based ArcelorMittal SA, has said he
expects global steel demand to rise between 2 and 3 percent in
amm.com, Jan. 14).
A version of this article was
first published by AMM sister publication Steel First.