China Steel Corp (CSC, 中鋼) yesterday raised its domestic prices for April and May shipments by an average of 0.37 percent compared with March shipments on expectations that demand will rise.
“Although demand in Taiwan has remained low this month, we believe it is a short-term phenomenon, and market sentiment will improve significantly next quarter, which is the peak season for the industry,” vice president for sales Liu Jih-gang (劉季剛) said by telephone.
The nation’s biggest steelmaker expects a recovering US economy will spur demand, given that warmer weather next quarter will help boost housing construction starts, Liu said.
China only increased its daily steel output by 0.5 percent to 2.06 million tonnes this month, compared with 1.96 million tonnes last month, which is not enough to meet rising demand, Liu said.
China Steel also expects steel price hikes to be sustained next quarter as rising raw material costs would give steelmakers little leeway for pricing, he said.
The company’s shipments are expected to increase 2.75 percent sequentially to 2.99 million tonnes this quarter and to rise to 3.06 million tonnes next quarter, Liu said.
Shipments this quarter grew 4.18 percent from 2.87 million tonnes last quarter to 2.91 million tonnes, Liu said.
The prices of benchmark hot-rolled sheets and coils increased by NT$100 per tonne, while the prices of cold-rolled sheets and coils, which are used mainly in the automobile industry, are to increase by NT$132 per tonne.
Electro-galvanized sheets will cost NT$300 more per tonne, while the price for steel bars and rods will rise by NT$29 per tonne and hot-dipped, zinc-galvanized sheets will increase by NT$150 per tonne.
Left unchanged are the prices of electrical sheets, which are used to manufacture home appliances, and steel plates.
China Steel subsidiary Chung Hung Steel Corp (中鴻鋼鐵) does not appear as optimistic when it released its pricing plan on Monday. It left next month’s prices unchanged because of reduced domestic demand.
“Given the economic slowdown in China, steel demand in this region is not as high as before,” Chung Hung Steel vice president Wang Chao-cheng (王朝成) said yesterday.