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GMS Market Commentary on Shipbreaking in Week 15 - CREEPING UP!

Some frantic buying ensued this week as the upcoming monsoon season and annual budgets begin to close in across the various subcontinent locations, both of which are expected within the next 4 - 6 weeks or so. Once again, Bangladesh is leading the way with most of the buying, particularly for a majority of the large LDT Capesize bulkers, VLOCs and containers on offer. However, there have also been some interesting sales into India, particularly one container vessel that was sold for a massive USD 480/LDT this week! Pakistan has also been creeping up of late as demand grows markedly following over six months of excruciatingly inert buying. However, local offerings still remain among the lowest across the subcontinent, even though there are signs of life starting to emerge once again.

Finally, as steel plate prices soften in Turkey whilst the Turkish Lira plummeted this week, local sentiments weakened further as increasing declines are expected / feared in the week(s) ahead.

As port reports start filling up in India and Bangladesh after an extremely busy last month, we can only speculate on just how much longer this aggressive buying will last. The lingering feeling is that end Buyers in Bangladesh want to import vessels before the budget is expected on June 5th, in fear of potential duties / taxes being imposed on the steel sector that would make it more expensive to purchase ships, thereby lowering local offerings.

There is also the period of the traditionally weaker monsoon season to factor in, which will begin around the end of May, whereby wet tows will not be permitted and much of the labour on the yards returns to their hometowns during this rainy season, as beachings and cutting activities are hampered. It will be interesting to see if this current heat persists, particularly going into some of the holiday periods ahead (Easter, Eid, etc.), as some rather decent numbers are being captured at present.

Source : Strategic Research Institute
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Iraq steel market will benefit from the reconstruction activities - Commodity Inside

The seven provinces which remained under ISIS (Islamic State of Iraq and Syria), went through the most destruction. Besides infrastructure, both residential and commercial buildings were damaged while millions of people fled the regions. The reconstruction activities have already started in the affected areas since the defeat of terror-monger organisation. In February 2018, a three-day international conference for the reconstruction of Iraq was held in Kuwait. Several countries pledged to provide financial support to Iraq. France committed USD 1.1 billion assistance while the EU pledged USD 450 million. So far, out of USD 88 billion required for the rebuilding of the country, Iraq managed to raise USD 30 billion at the start of 2019. Thousands of reconstruction projects are yet to be started in the country. 34% of the total funding required in the reconstruction of Iraq is already managed. However, Iraq can collect billions of dollars for reconstruction, but lacking a proper transparent spending system. The country is now making efforts to develop a special department for this purpose. Once established, the new department will be the authorised body to spend reconstruction funds in better and effective ways.

Iraq Steel Market- Supply Side
Iraq is dominated by EAF furnaces as well as a raft of IF furnaces. Its total crude steel production capacity is around 2 million tonnes. Iraq is trying to increase its steel production to satisfy its domestic demand. Currently, a few scrap-based steel producers and rolling mills are operating in Iraq.

1. State Company for Iron and Stel (SCIS) has remained closed since 2003 due to its outdated equipment and damages to the plant during the war. The rehabilitation plan for the company is underway with an investment of $220 million. In the first stage, the plant will be able to produce 0.5 million tonnes of long steel products. The plant is expected to start operating at the end of 2019.

2. Al Anmaa Co is an EAF-based steel producer with billet production capacity of 435k and 300k of rebar.

3. Erbil Steel has an annual capacity of around 200k tonnes of rebar.

4. FF Steel is operating a rebar plant at Erbil in Kurdistan with an annual production capacity of 535k tonnes.

5. IPBD runs a scrap based mini rebar mill in Iraq with an annual capacity of 100k tonnes.

6. Mass Iraq for Iron and Steel Industry Co with an annual capacity of 1.25 million tonnes of steel consist of billets, sections and rebar. It also plans to build a pellet plant for using extracted iron ore from Sanandaj and Saqqez mountains in Iranian Kurdistan.

Iraq Steel Market- Demand Side
Iraq steel demand to grow substantially as the reconstruction process has started picking up. The multi-billion dollars of construction projects would generate millions of tonnes of steel demand in the market. We estimate that residential construction will account for around 20% of the required $88 billion rebuilding expenditure.

Commodity Inside assesses that the total Iraqi steel consumption was around 3.2 million tonnes in 2018. With the rising construction and infrastructure spending, we expect that demand for steel will rise in the coming years. The demand will also be supported by steel pipe and tube demand which will be required to rebuild the damaged refineries.

Iraq Steel Market- Domestic and Imported Steel
Most of the steel demand in Iraq is expected to be satisfied through imports. Iraq steel imports surged from almost 1 million tonnes in 2008 to 4.5 million tonnes in 2013 but then slumped to 2.3 million tonnes by the end of 2017 due to the war between Iraqi forces and ISIS. Going forward, we expect that most of the imports will continue to source from Iran, Turkey and the CIS region.

Iranian steel prices are comparatively lower than any other neighbouring countries. This provides an advantage for Iranian steel suppliers to exports as much as possible. Some of the steel trade is also conducted through barter system due to the US sanctions on Iran. Iraqi steel producers may also struggle to compete with imported material due to high production costs, particularly in the coming years when scrap prices will start rising.

Iraq has already increased import duties on steel and other construction materials such as cement from Iran to protect its local producers. This has somehow increased import prices. However, given the lax border control and potential misclassification of steel products may make tariffs less effective.

Source : Commodity Inside
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Jiangsu Yonggang Group grants FAC to SMS Concast for 4 Strand Billet Caster

Jiangsu Yonggang Group Co Ltd in Jiangsu Province of China has granted SMS Concast, a company of SMS group, the Final Acceptance Certificate for the modernization of a new four-strand SBQ billet caster replacing an old caster at Yonggang in Zhangjiagang China. One major aspect of the project was the expansion of Jiangsu Yonggang´s SBQ steel grades portfolio which now includes high-quality bearing and other engineering steel grades. Only five months from installation start, the new billet caster with a capacity of 540,000 tonnes per year was commissioned and recently accepted by issuing the FAC. The section sizes include square billets from 150 to 220 millimeters.

The continuous casting machine contains many technological and digital solutions provided by SMS Concast in order to achieve a flawless process, high quality products and increased productivity.

The continuous caster was redesigned for the flying tundish production concept, a method to increase operation time and yield of the caster. Furthermore, the tundishes were equipped with the CONFLOW stopper control assuring a precise and stable steel flow for reliable casting and requiring almost no maintenance. Apart from the standard mold electromagnetic stirrer CONSTIR-MEMS, a final stirrer CONSTIR-FEMS helps achieve the required product quality in terms of center segregation and center porosity. The spray cooling system is equipped with SMS Concast’s AIRMIST spray nozzles enabling a uniform and softer cooling at lower water consumption. Additionally, provision has been made for the future application of DMSR (Dynamic Mechanical Soft Reduction) for bigger sections. This will be possible thanks to SMS Concast’s COOL simulation software which models the temperature profile of the hot steel strand in real time and thus allows the casting process, including spray cooling and DMSR, to be optimized online. Online adjustment of the spray cooling system prevents cracks due to internal reheating. And the dynamic adaption of the withdrawal straightening unit’s application forces (DMSR) improves product quality in terms of center segregation and center porosity.

A further digital solution is heat tracking as part of the level-2 system. This module allows the quality of each heat to be meticulously traced down to single billet slices and thus enables the operator to predict quality events and improve the production yield by cut optimization.

Source : Strategic Research Institute
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ArcelorMittal Kryvyi Rih began repairs of DP-6 gas cleaning system

ArcelorMittal Kryvyi Rih conducted the first major repair of environmental equipment this year the blast furnace number 6 gas cleaning unit. Its cost amounted to 635 thousand hryvnia. About 2 million USD was saved on the services of contractors through the implementation of a significant part of the work of its repair staff. Part of the parts was manufactured by the Foundry-Mechanical Plant a subsidiary repair company ArcelorMittal Kryvyi Rih. The gas cleaning plant is an impressive structure with a height of over 25 meters, a complex set of equipment, pipelines, various equipment and metal structures, shut-off control valves. The diameter of the duct is from 200 to 2700 meters. The scale of the structure can be judged by the volume of work performed. Thus, the scrubber irrigation nozzles, Venturi pipes, and the throttle group were replaced, a revision was made and partial replacement of the main valves and electrical networks of the gas cleaning complex was made. 45 new irrigation beams (pipes) were installed, an audit of all 24 shaking mechanisms of the collecting and corona electrodes was carried out, and half of the total number of electrodes of electric fields was checked and cleaned (the length of each electrode is 8 meters). In addition, work was done on gas-cleaning equipment and systems at the foundry yard and the bunker room of blast furnace No. 6 during its shutdown.

Thus, the parameters of GOU performance for the purification of exhaust gases from DP-6 were restored, as a result of which the environmental impact will be reduced.

This year, ArcelorMittal Kryvyi Rih will also perform a number of other major repairs to maintain the efficiency and reliability of environmental equipment, eliminating various risks
Gas cleaning two-steel steelmaking unit number 6
Charcoal equipment GOU converter number 5
Gas cleaning from the ladle furnace and the ferroalloy bunker in the continuous casting section of steel No 1
GOU equipment in the framework of the reconstruction of the limestone kiln No 3
Replacement of the water supply section of the water supply from pump station No 9 to the rolling shop No 3.

Source : Strategic Research Institute
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Iran exports 2.6 million tonnes of steel products in 11 months - ISPA

Iran Daily quoted Iranian Steel Producers' Association as saying that Iran exported 2.6 million tonnes of steel products during March 21, 2018-February 19, 2019. The ISPA report indicated that Iranian steelmakers exported 507,000 tonnes of sponge iron during the 11-month period. It said that a sum of 1.437 million tonnes of round bar was exported in the said period, while 158,000 tons of coated iron sheets were exported.

The head of ISPA Mr Bahram Sobhani added, “Today unilateral US sanctions on Iran and limitations imposed from outside on the country has made it difficult to export steel products. Under the present circumstances, the Central Bank of Iran, those who inject foreign currency into the domestic market, the Islamic Republic of Iran Customs Administration and other apparatuses are expected to join hands to make steel exports possible. Otherwise, either surplus production should be hoarded or the level of production should be brought down. The growth in production will lead to a substantial drop in imports and, thus, domestic consumption could be increased to 16 million tonnes. This way it will become possible to replace imports by domestic output.”

Mr Sobhani underlined that Iran is the region’s largest steel producer with an annual production of 25 million tonnes, adding that the country ranks 10th in the world.

Source : Iran Daily
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Nigeria ministry of mines address operators challenges

PM News Nigeria reported that Ministry of Mines and Steel Development said that it would explore feasible options to redress all existing challenges facing operators in the metal sector. A statement by Mr Edwin Opara, the ministry’s Director Press, said that the ministry would also assist private metal operators to create the necessary linkages required for rapid development of the sector. According to him, the ministry is organizing an all-inclusive stakeholders’ forum to avail metal operators in the South-South and other zones of the country the opportunity to interface with the Federal Government to address the challenges in the sector. He said that the stakeholders’ forum would hold on April 16 and 17 in Asaba and would have as its theme, “Panacea for National Development and Imperative for Economic Diversification”.

Opara said that all metallurgical operators, chief executives, captains of industry, academia and all metallurgical professionals would participate in the forum.

The director of press said that the forum would provide the platform on which to discuss how to reposition the Nigerian metallurgical industry for economic diversification and industrialisation.

Source : PM News Nigeria
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Liberty again failed to pay for Adhunik Metaliks - Report

Telegraph India reported that Liberty House Group has failed to buy another stressed asset from India’s bankruptcy court within the stipulated time. The National Company Law Appellate Tribunal had set a 30-day deadline for Liberty to make an upfront cash payment (INR 410 crore) for insolvent Adhunik Metaliks Ltd. The period ended on Sunday with lenders and Liberty confirming they are yet to close the deal. Sources said Liberty had sought more time when its representatives met the lenders last week to bring in the money, citing pending compliances. However, the lenders are unwilling to offer the long rope to Liberty, anymore, primarily because it had already missed several deadlines. A member from the committee of creditors of Adhunik said that “Adhunik Metaliks is a good asset and there may be other takers. We do not want it to be liquidated. We want a fresh round of bidding.”

The CoC is likely to buttress its argument, citing a recent order of the Chandigarh bench of the NCLT on Amtek Auto. Liberty was the successful resolution applicant there, too, but failed to bring in the money within the stipulated time. The bench allowed the CoC to go for a fresh round of bidding, asking it to wrap up the resolution process within 150 days.

Incidentally, the CoC of Adhunik Metaliks, too, had filed a similar application before the NCLT when the matter was being heard at the Calcutta bench. However, it did not press the matter then. The counsel for the CoC also showed a letter from Maharashtra Seamless, which was a bidder for Adhunik but lost out to Liberty eventually, seeking to buy the insolvent company should the lenders agree.

The way forward will now be decided by the National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT) on the next hearing in Kolkata on April 30.

Mr Sanjeev Gupta, the Indian-born British businessman, had made audacious bids for several bankruptcy facing companies, such as Amtek Auto and ABG Shipyard. Even though it was selected a successful resolution applicant in several of them, Liberty has not been able cross the rope in any of them.

Source : Telegraph India
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US raw steel production for Week 15 - AISI

In the week ending on April 13, 2019, domestic raw steel production was 1,915,000 net tons while the capability utilization rate was 82.3 percent. Production was 1,780,000 net tons in the week ending April 13, 2018 while the capability utilization then was 76.0 percent. The current week production represents a 7.6 percent increase from the same period in the previous year. Production for the week ending April 13, 2019 is down 0.7 percent from the previous week ending April 6, 2019 when production was 1,928,000 net tons and the rate of capability utilization was 82.8 percent.

Adjusted year-to-date production through April 13, 2019 was 28,051,000 net tons, at a capability utilization rate of 81.9 percent. That is up 6.8 percent from the 26,253,000 net tons during the same period last year, when the capability utilization rate was 76.4 percent.

Broken down by districts, here's production for the week ending April 13, 2019 in thousands of net tons: North East: 184; Great Lakes: 725; Midwest: 183; Southern: 748 and Western: 75 for a total of 1915.

Source : Strategic Research Institute
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JFE Steel starts producing JATT High strength High elongation tin plates

JFE Steel announced today that it has begun mass producing its new JATT (JFE Advanced Thin-gauge Tin-mill Products) high-strength, high-elongation steel sheet for packaging applications. The company used its proprietary materials design expertise to develop JATT, which achieves both an excellent elongation of up to 20% relative to the average of 3-5 % of conventional DR steel sheet and the same level of strength as DR steel sheet. JATT improves formability in the can making process and contributes to the gauge reduction of can products. JFE Steel begins full-scale supply of JATT steel sheets to a wide range of customers in the near future.

Conventional DR steel sheet has high strength, but its elongation properties are reduced. At times, this can lead to cracks developing in rivets, flanges and beads when producing “Easy Open Ends” (which do not require the use of can openers) or three-piece can bodies.

JFE Steel’s newly developed JATT largely eliminates such problems as a high-strength steel sheet with favorable elongation properties. Furthermore, compared to conventional SR (“Single cold-Reduced”) steel sheet of the same thickness, JATT offers greater strength and greater resistance to buckling or deformation due to dents, which will enable can manufacturers to produce thinner-gauge products.

JATT steel sheet is offered in four grades of hardness and yield strength to meet a wide range of customers’ applications and requirements.

Going forward, JFE Steel will continue exploring ways to satisfy customers’ needs with its proprietary advanced technologies.

Source : Strategic Research Institute
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Allegheny Technologies update on Q1 2019 financial results

Allegheny Technologies Incorporated announced that its first quarter 2019 earnings per share is expected to be in the range of USD 0.10 to USD 0.13. Sales for the first quarter are expected to be approximately USD 1.0 billion. Mr Robert S. Wetherbee, ATI President and Chief Executive Officer said that “Our first quarter financial results are below our expectations as we faced unexpected operational headwinds in both of our business segments. In the High Performance Materials and Components segment, the company cited a greater than anticipated negative impact from the continued disruption in third party nickel powder billet supply, as well as higher operating costs due to the accelerated ramp of nickel powder production and the temporary margin compression caused by the rapid drop from prior months’ cobalt prices.”

In ATI’s Flat Rolled Products segment, the STAL joint venture experienced lower than anticipated demand in China, including continued softness in the high-end consumer electronics market, which drove an extended production downtime around the Lunar New Year holiday period. Mr Wetherbee said that “This lower demand, coupled with increased operating costs for the newly expanded STAL joint venture production facilities, resulted in lower than expected profitability in the quarter.” Additionally, ATI’s US Flat Rolled business faced weaker than expected demand for commodity stainless products due to customer inventory destocking actions that resulted in operational inefficiencies in its downstream finishing operations.

For both segments, the company believes that these negative impacts will lessen in the second quarter. They are not expected to affect company performance in the second half of 2019.

Mr Wetherbee said that “We continue to work proactively with our customers to jointly address current supply constraints related to the ongoing aerospace production ramp. In addition, we have full confidence in Boeing’s ability to address the current 737 MAX issues, and as previously announced, we expect to maintain our current production and delivery schedules related to that aircraft. Accordingly, we believe that our financial results will improve in the second quarter and throughout the balance of 2019 and that progress toward our longer-term objectives remains on pace.”

Source : Strategic Research Institute
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Tubos Argentinos inaugurates a tube line to supply the photovoltaic market

The incorporation of a production line of tubes and pipes of steel with large diameter seam was the great reason why Tubos Argentinos decided to expand the industrial facilities of its plant in the province of Buenos Aires. In detail, the company increased the range of 5-inch tube up to 10-inch tube and added in-line spout, 6-inch spout and 8-inch spout. That would result in new uses for photovoltaic solar farm structures, piping for fluid handling, agricultural machinery, among others. Ms Paula Poloni , General Manager of the company said that "We will continue to provide the renewable energy sector and we expect to increase sales to a large extent in the coming months. Specifically, we had a very important participation during the past year in photovoltaic parks. Today many of them are already built and generating energy, and we are confident that new clients will emerge in the short term from various parts of the country.”

Precisely among the renewable projects in which Tubos Argentinos already had participation, 5 of these are solar: Caldanes del Oeste (San Luis), La Cumbre (San Luis), Cauchari (Jujuy), Guanizui Church (San Juan) and Pasip (Mendoza) ).

While the products that stand out for this area are pipes of conduction, GAS, electrical type CONDUIT and profiles for dry construction, this plant opens a lot of new challenges and opportunities to explore.

The businesswoman announced that "During this year and next year we have the objective of certifying our products under the API standard - the American Petroleum Institute - to enter the gas and oil pipeline market, With the incorporation of this line, Tubos Argentinos reaches a production capacity of 6000 tons per month, which would almost double the current production capacity. From there, the business prospects in the region increase. We have already closed deals in Brazil and we will continue to venture into that market, especially with the new large tubes, and the efforts are focused on positioning ourselves in Uruguay, Paraguay and Bolivia.”

Source : Strategic Research Institute
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ADF Group announces results for the fiscal year ended January 31, 2019

ADF GROUP INC recorded revenues of USD 135.1 million during the fiscal year ended January 31, 2019, compared with USD 180.5 million the previous fiscal year. This decrease in revenues results for the most part from the loss of three major contracts at the beginning of the fiscal year following the implementation of new U.S. tariffs on steel imports. Although the Corporation was able to secure new contracts since the tariffs took effect, the impact from the loss of these contracts on fabrication activities could not be recovered. Gross margin, as a percentage of revenues went from 8.9% in the fiscal year ended January 31, 2018, to 7.1% during the fiscal year ended January 31, 2019. This drop in gross margin is largely explained by the impact of above-mentioned fabrication volume decrease on the absorption of fixed costs.

ADF recorded a net loss of USD 0.4 million (-USD 0.01 basic and diluted per share) during the fiscal year ended January 31, 2019, compared with a net loss of USD 7.2 million (-USD 0.22 basic and diluted per share) a year ago. It is important to highlight that during the fourth quarter of the fiscal year ended January 31, 2018, the Corporation recorded a USD 9.2 million non-recurrent and non-cash income tax expense, following the change made to the US federal tax rates for the Corporation’s US subsidiaries, and the non-recognition of deferred US subsidiaries income tax assets following a tax settlement.

On January 31, 2019, the Corporation had USD 31.8 million in working capital, whilst its cash and cash equivalents position, net of the credit facilities, increased by USD 4.7 million from the same date a year ago.

The Corporation remains in a sound position to support its ongoing operations and pursue its development projects.

During the fiscal year ended January 31, 2019, the Corporation was able to secure new contracts valued at close to $200 million, bringing its order backlog to USD 219.5 million on that date, and that is excluding the new contracts worth USD 73 million announced on February 12, 2019, compared with a backlog of USD 85.5 million as at January 31, 2018. Most contracts will be progressively completed by the end of the fiscal year ending January 31, 2021.

Mr Jean Paschini, Co Chairman of the Board of Directors and Chief Executive Officer said that "We can draw some still positive conclusions from this past fiscal year, even though it started with uncertainties about the free-trade treaty negotiations and the introduction of new tariffs on steel imports. We have announced close to USD 200 million worth in new contract during the fiscal year ended January 31, 2019, and we have secured an additional USD 73 million in new contracts since that date. We have also improved our liquidities, which in turn improved our cash position, net of credit facilities, by almost USD 5.0 million.”

Source : Strategic Research Institute
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Drones are taking off at ArcelorMittal Burns Harbor

Drones were originally invented for military use, but since the first remote-controlled aircraft took flight, people have discovered millions of creative ways from practical to pure fun to use these devices. In the steel industry, drone technology has been “taking off,” and at ArcelorMittal, drones have completely changed how we approach certain technical challenges. Within the last five years, a number of individual ArcelorMittal plants started experimenting with drones. In some cases, drones equipped with cameras were first used to help map a facility’s geographic footprint. In others, drones were employed to be able to see, or visually inspect, rooftops where it was difficult or dangerous to send a person. As our facilities started to uncover the power of this technology, a community and knowledge-base began to form. Last year, a formal drone network group was established and is leading efforts to maximize this innovative technology to make our business safer, more efficient, and more cost-effective.

Led by Chris Mathews, area manager of IT operations at AM/NS Calvert, and Mr Larry Fabina, manager of continuous improvement at ArcelorMittal Burns Harbor, the network now has 35 members from 32 ArcelorMittal facilities worldwide, including many in the US.

Mr Fabina said that “This technology is evolving quickly, and we have a lot of expertise throughout our company. ArcelorMittal values learning and leadership and that’s what the network is about. Drones have the potential to help transform our industry and how we do business. We want to be on the cutting-edge of that, so we bring people together to learn and share best practices.”

The list of ways our plants are utilizing drones currently is extensive: conducting inspections, mapping and surveying, counting inventory, monitoring utilities and more. But this isn’t just about using a fun new gadget. Drones can safely go where people can’t, creating a safety benefit. Drones can help detect equipment failures or weaknesses, preventing expensive repairs. And drones can accomplish some tasks in record time, saving not just valuable time, but effort and money.

Mr Mathews gave an example of a drone application at AM/NS Calvert that has achieved all of these benefits: “There are important tasks, like furnace inspections, that can take days, even up to a week, to do safely because they involve erecting scaffolding, managing the risks of working in a confined space, etc. With a drone, we can accomplish the same task in only 8 or 9 hours. The drone flies in, collects the data and video footage we need, and then our team can analyze the video from a safe position and plan what maintenance work needs to be done in the next scheduled outage.”

Although ArcelorMittal is leading the steel industry in strategically using drone technology, Mr Fabina says we are just scratching the surface on the power of drones.

He added that “We want to continue to exploit the power of drone technology. We have successfully taken the first steps using this technology as a tool to acquire data and information in a safe and reliable manner, which is a huge step. The next step is to further streamline not only how we use drones to acquire information but also how we interpret and analyze that information. Integrating drones with other technologies like LIDAR, artificial intelligence and augmented analytics is the next frontier.”

Some people are afraid of drones, robots and other automated technologies, worrying they will they take the place of humans. But Henry Cuevas, senior project engineer in the high energy group at ArcelorMittal Cleveland, argues the opposite. “One of the best advantages of our drone program is the human factor. We are protecting the safety of our workers. Plus, our employees are excited and motivated by how our centuries-old industry is using new technologies to be better.”

Source : Strategic Research Institute
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Ahead of schedule! Arch segments at the new ArcelorMittal steel shelters in Taranto

The third arch in the Mineral Park superstructure was erected 10 days ahead of schedule – on 5 April! This structure will play a crucial role in limiting the dispersion of dust towards the city, particularly in the Tamburi district. The minerals present in the primary parks are due to be covered by the end of 2019 – almost 19 months ahead of the deadline set by the Prime Minister’s decree of September 2017. The coverage of the mineral parks is not only one of the most important interventions required by the Integrated Environmental Authority, but also part of the most ambitious environmental plan ever with a total goal of 1.15 billion Euro in investments by 2023, making Taranto the most advanced facility in Europe.

In January 2019, the first arch segment of the new ArcelorMittal, previously the ILVA metallurgical plant, steel shelters in Taranto, Italy were erected. Each segment is composed of six of a total 51 huge arch trusses that will form the 80m high, 254 m wide, and 700 m long cover structure which is required for the environmental containment of the Mineral Park. Heavy plates from our Taranto mill were used for the fabrication of the welded tubes and trusses.

The assembled steel will be transported to its final position using dedicated rollers, as demonstrated in the construction process shown in the following video. This challenging work is being carried out under the supervision of SWS Engineering's on-site team & Cimolai, the steel fabricator and erector. For a complete visualisation of the process, take a look at this video:

Source : Strategic Research Institute
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Egypt imposes duties on billets & rebar imports

Egypt has imposed temporary import fees of 15% on steel billets and 25% on steel rebar for 180 days from Monday. The ministry said the import fees aim to protect national industry against unfair competition. Egypt said in 2017 that it would maintain tariffs on steel rebar from China, Turkey and Ukraine for a five-year period in order to protect local manufacturers. The decision aims to increase production and sales from the local industry, support Egyptian industrialists, and enhance Egyptian exports and create jobs for the youth.

The ministry said that the fees will be placed into the account of the Export Development Fund at the Central Bank of Egypt.

Local newspapers said manufacturers had urged the trade ministry to implement the latest anti-dumping measures because of a global oversupply of billets as a result of US import restrictions.

Source : Ahram Online
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Rio Tinto cuts iron ore shipment guidance

Rio Tinto released first quarter production results. Rio Tinto chief executive J-S Jacques said “Our iron ore business faced several challenges at the start of this year, particularly from tropical cyclones. As a result, and following the continuing assessment of damage at the port resulting from the cyclones and other minor disruptions, 2019 guidance for Pilbara shipments is reduced to between 333 and 343 million tonnes. The quarterly operational performance in our other products was solid, generally higher than last year. Our focus remains on safety, delivering our ‘value over volume’ strategy and allocating capital with discipline, to continue delivering superior returns to our shareholders in the short, medium and long term.”

Operational update

Pilbara iron ore shipments of 69.1 million tonnes (100 per cent basis) in the first quarter were 14 per cent lower than the first quarter of 2018. Production was significantly impacted by the weather disruptions in March and a fire at Cape Lambert A in January. These events will have an impact on second quarter performance.

2019 guidance for Pilbara shipments has been revised to between 333 and 343 million tonnes (previously between 338 and 350 million tonnes, 100 per cent basis). The reduction reflects a slower ramp up and ongoing disruption to shipments caused by weather and other disruptions.

Commissioning of the Amrun bauxite mine was completed in March 2019, with the project delivered under budget and ahead of schedule. Bauxite production of 12.8 million tonnes in the quarter was one per cent higher than the same period of 2018, despite several weather events throughout the quarter significantly impacting production at the Amrun, Weipa and Gove mines.

Aluminium production of 0.8 million tonnes was in line with the first quarter of 2018. Excluding the non-managed Becancour smelter, which was impacted by a lock-out, production was one per cent higher, reflecting continued productivity creep.

First quarter mined copper production of 144 thousand tonnes was three per cent higher than the first quarter of 2018, with strong contributions from Oyu Tolgoi and Rio Tinto Kennecott.

Titanium dioxide slag production of 296 thousand tonnes was one per cent higher than the first quarter of 2018.

First quarter production at Iron Ore Company of Canada was five per cent higher than the corresponding quarter of 2018, despite adverse weather conditions impacting production in February.

At the Oyu Tolgoi Underground Project the review of the mine design and the development schedule is continuing. The commissioning of the main production shaft (Shaft 2) is now expected to complete in October 2019.

On 27 February 2019, Rio Tinto announced it had discovered copper-gold mineralisation in the Paterson Province in the far east Pilbara region of Western Australia.

On 8 April 2019, Rio Tinto announced the approval of the construction of the Zulti South project at Richards Bay Minerals (RBM) in South Africa for $463 million (Rio Tinto share $343 million).

On 15 April 2019, Rio Tinto announced it had committed $302 million ($166 million Rio Tinto share) of additional expenditure to advance its Resolution Copper project in the US state of Arizona.

Source : Strategic Research Institute
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Indian steel sector to have good scenario in current & next year - Mr Sushim Banerjee

Mr Sushim Banerjee DG INSDAG in his personal capacity wrote in Financial Express that the performance of Indian economy in terms of standard economic parameters like GDP, consumption, investment, per capita income, inflation, current account deficit and fiscal deficit can be termed as reasonably good specifically while comparing with the result sheets of other economies, advanced or developing. There are, however, concerns on the sustainability of these indices in view of some of the downward risks that emerge on the global scene. The publications of World Economic Outlook by International Monetary Fund and Asian Development Outlook by Asian Development Bank in quick succession in April 2019 have mentioned some pertinent facts on the course of economic growth in 2019 and beyond. Although, the evaluations by two separate agencies do not follow similar trend, the concluding convergence of assessments is apparent. The global GDP growth is slated to go down to 3.3%, dropping from 3.6% in 2018 displaying a synchronized slowdown by 70% of global economy.

The distorting elements continue to be the escalation of US-China trade conflicts, economic stress in Argentina, Turkey, Venezuela, poor growth in auto sector (with new emission standards) and manufacturing in Germany, financial tightening in countries, including China and others. These downward risks have led to lowering of the growth prospects in the US ( 1.8% in 2019 and 1.7% in 2020), Latin America, UK (more due to Brexit uncertainties, albeit extended for another 6 months), Canada, Australia and Russia. The silver lining is the belief that the slowdown in global economy may reverse in H2 of 2019.

A new concept Modern Monetary Theory is taking roots. The banks are creating new resources to directly fund government budget deficits almost on the lines of Quantitative Easing rather than funding through the purchase of government bonds. US Federal Reserve, the European Central Bank, the Bank of England and the Bank of China have all gone in for stimulus funding of infrastructure projects and social funding. This is the new role that the major banks are playing to lift up the sagging economies.

The problem centres round the insignificant growth momentum seen in elements of real economy. Industrial production is down. IIP in India has grown 4% during the first 11 months of FY19, while gross fixed capital formation as a percentage of GDP (constant prices) moves up to 32.5% in April-December’19. This needs to scale up substantially and to be led by public investment as has happened in China in all these years. Exports growth is slower as compared to last year. Indian steel export in FY19 at 8.5 MT is around 26.4% lower than the previous year’s level.

IMF has projected 3.3% GDP growth in 2019 would go up to 3.6% in 2020. India with a GDP growth of 7.1% in 2018 is slated to grow by 7.3% in 2019 and to 7.5% in 2020. ADB, on the other hand, has projected Indian economy to grow by 7.2% in 2019 and by 7.3% in 2020 with an inflation ranging between 4.3-4.6% in 2019 and 2020.

What is reassuring in the evaluation by ADB was a reiteration of the capability of domestic financial resilience to mitigate adverse global influences. It is seen that private consumption has played an important role in GDP growth in India despite a drop in rural consumption, while investment growth led by public investment is gradually taking up a higher share in GDP.

The recent repo rate cut by the Reserve Bank of India to 6.0% has been favorably commented by ADB and is likely to enable more investment flow into the economy and would also help private consumption.

In addition, the sustained growth in non-food credit by the commercial banks has helped more liquidity in Indian economy. The improvement in non-performing loans held by banks and positive outcome of IBC provisions in making stressed assets bear fruits are the two positive highlights in India’s growth story.

Steel, being the largest category accounting for stressed assets, is going to experience a favorable scenario in the current year and the next. However, ADB report has expressed concern on fluctuating trend in PMI in manufacturing in India, rising from 52.4 in January to 54.3 in February and falling to 52.6 in March’19. The second area of concern relates to the poor growth in exports. India’s share in global exports that went up from 0.7% in 2000 to 1.7% in 2017 is below 12.7% share by China, 3.9% share by Japan and 3.2% share by South Korea.

It has been suggested that Indian exports need to improve its share in global value chain which is driving the growth in global exports. India can achieve this with vast improvement in quality of infrastructure, adequate finance for industry and infrastructure and acquire immense growth in skill development. These would remain the thrust areas for the current year for India.

The major highlights of global economic outlook clearly charts out a roadmap for growth of industry, of which metal sector is an inseparable component. The global downward risks require country-specific monetary and fiscal strategies that would enable Indian economy to sustain its growth story and minimise the adverse impact of these risk factors.

Source : Financial Express
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Vale’s iron ore shortage hits Brazilian steel mills - Report

Seeking Alpha reported that Vale's decision SA to halt production at 10 sites in Brazil's Minas Gerais state following this January's deadly dam disaster has affected deliveries of iron ore pellets to clients, newspaper Valor Econômico reports. Vale is trying to resolve the problem by bringing iron ore pellets produced in Maranhão state to clients in the southeast, but the longer distances involved are adding to transportation costs, according to the report.

The production cuts, estimated at 93 million tonnes of iron ore, could trim 0.2 percentage points from Brazil’s gross domestic product this year, the Getúlio Vargas Foundation said this weekend.

Source : Seeking Alpha
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US DoC review on CTL steel plates from Korea

The Department of Commerce preliminarily determined that countervailable subsidies are being provided to certain exporters/producers of certain cut-to-length plate from the Republic of Korea at de minimis levels during the period of review January 1, 2017, through December 31, 2017. Interested parties are invited to comment on these preliminary results. On April 16, 2018, Commerce published a notice of initiation of an administrative review of the countervailing duty order on certain cut-to-length carbon quality steel plate from the Republic of Korea. On September 26, 2018, Commerce extended the due date of the preliminary results of this administrative review until February 28, 2019. On January 28, 2019, Commerce exercised its discretion to toll all deadlines affected by the partial federal government closure from December 22, 2018, through the resumption of operations on January 29, 2019. If the new deadline falls on a non-business day, in accordance with Commerce's practice, the deadline will become the next business day. As a result, the revised deadline for the preliminary results in this review is now April 9, 2019.

The merchandise covered by the Order is certain cut-to-length carbon-quality steel plate from Korea.

Company/Subsidy rate ad valorem
Dongkuk Steel Mill Co Ltd/0.25 percent (de minimis)
Hyundai Steel Company/0.44 percent (de minimis)

Source : Strategic Research Institute
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