China Steel Corp (CSC, 中鋼) announced yesterday that it would keep domestic steel prices for March contracts unchanged from next month’s level.
“In spite of a recent rebound in global steel prices, China Steel will keep March prices of all steel products unchanged to help its downstream customers maintain their global competitiveness,” the company said in an e-mailed statement.
CSC said its decision also aimed to cope with weak demand from downstream customers because of the week-long Lunar New Year holiday, which begins on Jan. 23.
Yesterday’s decision came after the Greater Kaohsiung-based company lowered domestic prices for this month and next month’s contracts by an average of 7.08 percent, or NT$1,756 (US$58.53) per tonne, to reflect sluggish demand and falling prices.
The Taiwanese firm’s move also followed in the footsteps of China’s Baoshan Iron & Steel Co (寶鋼) and Wuhan Iron & Steel Co (武鋼), which announced earlier this month that they would keep steel prices mostly flat for next month’s contracts as prices have shown signs of hitting the bottom.
Moreover, steel mills in the US and Europe have begun raising prices to reflect increasing costs, while their peers in Japan and South Korea have also increased their export prices for next month, CSC said.
Looking ahead, CSC said in the statement that restocking demand from downstream customers is likely to grow after the Lunar New Year holiday, as some customers have seen export orders resume growth, while the domestic prices of major steel products have rebounded after a deep decline over the past few months.
The company did not elaborate on the price outlook for the current quarter. However, falling prices in the fourth quarter of last year had affected its sales for the whole of last year, which increased by just 0.5 percent to NT$240.38 billion from 2010, the company said on Tuesday.