China Steel Corp (CSC, 中鋼), the nation’s only integrated steelmaker, announced yesterday that it would raise prices of domestic products for March by an average of 3.08 percent.
The 3.08 percent price increase — greater than the 0.39 percent price increase announced last month for this month’s and next month’s contracts — marks the highest price increase by the company in more than a year.
Better economic conditions, rising iron ore prices and low inventory levels across the market were main reasons for the increase, the Greater Kaohsiung-based company said in a statement.
It also comes after major Chinese steel mills recently increased their prices to reflect rising demand by the construction industry for urbanization plans there, the company said, adding that the orders of its downstream companies also increased.
Prices for benchmark hot-rolled sheets and coils would rise by NT$551 (US$19) per tonne for March shipments. Prices for cold-rolled sheets and coils, which are used mainly in the automotive industry, are to increase by NT$760 per tonne, while those for electrical sheets will be raised by NT$241 per tonne. Steel bar and rod prices increased by NT$818 per tonne and those for hot-dipped, zinc-galvanized sheets by NT$600 per tonne.
However, the company only slightly increased prices for steel plates used in construction, by NT$74 a tonne, and left the prices of electro-galvanized sheets unchanged.
For the whole of last year, China Steel reported revenue of NT$207.19 billion, down 13.8 percent from NT$240.38 billion a year ago.
Meanwhile, the company said it was still considering filing an anti-dumping complaint over cheap steel plate imports from countries including Japan, South Korea and India.
It said imported steel plates accounted for 35 percent of Taiwan’s market in the fourth quarter of last year, up from 21 percent in the first quarter, an indication that the low prices of imports have harmed the nation’s steel industry.
“As for when the company will make this move, we will continue to watch the market situation carefully,” public relations officer Hung Jui-pen (洪瑞彬) said by telephone.
China Steel filed an anti-dumping complaint with the Ministry of Finance in November 2011 over cheap imports of carbon steel plates, cold-rolled steel flat products and non-oriented electromagnetic steel sheets from South Korea, Japan, China and India.
However, the finance ministry officially dropped the case in July last year after an investigation by the Ministry of Economic Affairs’ International Trade Commission found that carbon steel plates imported by South Korea and India did not cause intrinsic damage to the nation’s steel industry.
China Steel also withdrew its complaints over cold-rolled steel flat products and non-oriented electromagnetic steel sheets after the Chinese, South Korean and Japanese companies involved in the two cases reached a settlement with it and raised their prices.
The share price of China Steel was up 1.82 percent to NT$28 yesterday. The company’s stock has declined 3.28 percent over the last 12 months, while the TAIEX was up 6.9 percent.