China Steel Corp (CSC, 中鋼) yesterday said it would raise domestic steel prices next quarter at an average rate of 1.9 percent, due to increasing raw material costs from rising demand on an improving economic outlook.
The nation’s largest steelmaker, which has repeatedly cut prices in previous quarters to cushion the impact of a US-China trade dispute, said in a statement that its prices have fallen far below international market quotations.
Pointing to price hikes from industry peers in the US, India, Brazil and Russia, CSC said that the overall steel industry is no longer plagued by cheap exports, adding that a halt in production from Japanese and South Korean steelmakers due to mill maintenance and repairs would further boost market demand.
The price of steel plates would increase by NT$600 (US$19.73) per tonne, while the price of steel bars and rods would rise by NT$500 per tonne, it said.
The NT$500 price increase would also apply to hot-rolled carbon steel, as well as cold-rolled sheets and coils destined for tool manufacturing, it said, adding that the same goes for hot-dipped, zinc-galvanized sheets, used in the production of consumer electronics and other high-tech devices such as PCs.
Steel products used in the auto industry or to make boats are exempt from any price increases next quarter, it said.
The Kaohsiung-based steelmaker has, for the first time, listed separate quotation prices adjusted on a monthly basis for April, as it seeks to align with global practices.
The price list shows increases of between NT$300 and NT$600 per tonne for hot and cold-rolled sheets and coils, as well as electro-galvanized sheets, among others.
CSC said that it expects what little impact the COVID-19 outbreak has on the overall steel market to be short-lived, based on the effect of SARS on the industry in 2003.
It also expects market demand to bounce back in the second quarter once the outbreak subsides, citing the China government’s plans for a nationwide economic stimulus, it said.
CSC is also upbeat over domestic market demand as the Forward-looking Infrastructure Development Program from President Tsai Ing-wen’s (蔡英文) administration aims to revitalize economic activities in the nation, it said, adding that the development of offshore wind energy and growing investment from local companies would spur market demand even more.
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