Tariffs, antidumping, and countervailing cases are increasingly reducing the global exchange of products, resulting in the longs market becoming more regionalized, according to the Irepas monthly short-range outlook.
The increasing levels of market protections have led to sluggish competition in the global market, Irepas noted, except for the US market that remains high.
The outlook forecasted recovery in the steel market next year on relatively good demand after a challenging 2020. Moreover, while producers in the EU and the US are protected by safeguards like tariffs and duties, markets in Russia, Ukraine, Turkey, Iran, and Brazil are increasingly dependent on Chinese demand. Irepas does not expect a major change in Chinese demand or consumption at least until after the country’s New Year holidays next year. However, declining domestic demand could see China shift from being a net importer to a net exporter over the next four months.
Another global concern, the outlook noted was the increase in China’s steel production, which has risen to over 1bn mt. As a result, the world market will be under pressure when the Asian nation’s GDP slows down over the winter months.
The outlook also indicated that Beijing will allow the import of ferrous scrap with fewer restrictions. The last time China was a significant player in the global ferrous scrap market, it purchased about 14mn mt in one year, according to Irepas. China is a much larger producer, with more EAF-based production and so scrap prices could increase significantly if the country lifts its scrap import prohibition due to the large EAF-based capacity it has recently built up.