China Steel Corp (CSC, 中鋼), the nation’s only integrated steelmaker, yesterday maintained steel prices from a month ago for June shipments, citing uncertainties in China.
Steel prices in China have been creeping down since the end of the Lunar New Year holiday, indicating a lower-than-expected market sentiment for this quarter, company vice president for sales Liu Jih-gang (劉季剛) said by telephone yesterday.
According to Liu, the second quarter of a year used to be a peak season for the steel market, as construction projects increased.
In China, Baosteel Group Corp (寶鋼集團) recently cut prices, while Wuhan Iron and Steel Corp (武漢鋼鐵) and Anshan Iron and Steel Group Corp (鞍鋼) made only minor price adjustments, Liu said.
Liu said Baosteel’s move was more likely to be a correction after the company raised steel prices many times, but China Steel was still cautious.
Meanwhile, Liu said, downstream companies also said that they hope the company would ease its price hike for June contracts, with China Steel taking consideration of downstream companies’ global competitiveness as part of its pricing strategy.
Despite the downcast market sentiment, preliminary data showed the company’s orders reached 3.08 million tonnes this quarter, higher than its earlier estimate of 3.06 million tonnes, Liu said.
That represents a 3.36 percent increase from the 2.98 million tonnes sold the previous quarter, he said.
Contrary to the declining steel prices in China, steel prices in the US, Europe, Southeast Asia and Japan remain strong, while iron ores and steel scraps prices bottomed out on March 11, to offer extra support for steel prices, Liu said.
Domestic sales account for about 64 percent of China Steel’s revenue, while sales to China account for 12 percent, China Steel said.