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CSN, ArcelorMittal, Usiminas raise flats prices 12%

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Brazilian integrated steelmakers CSN, ArcelorMittal and Usiminas are all raising domestic prices for hot- and cold-rolled steel sheet, as well as for hot-dipped galvanized steel products in 12% in the first days of 2018, according to letters sent to customers.

The new round of price hikes has been possible given the combination of recent rebound in prices in the international market and a favorable foreign exchange rate, which puts the domestic product in a "discount" position over the imported material.

Usually, Brazilian steelmakers work with a sustainable premium of 5%-10% over the imported material.

The domestic environment has also improved: While imports are less of concern, inventories at the distribution sector are normalizing and operating rates at the industry rising.

The S&P Global Platts weekly assessment for Brazilian domestic HRC went up by Real 260 to Real 2,660/mt ex-works, excluding taxes, based on a range of Real 2,640-2,680/mt. Previously, HRC was at Real 2,400/mt, based on a range of Real 2,350-Real 2,450/mt, same basis.

"CSN started applying its new price list on January 5," a mill source confirmed.

ArcelorMittal, meanwhile, has reportedly started a bit earlier, on January 3, according to a distributor.

A different buyer mentioned that Usiminas is about to follow the increases, "with the pricing list dating from January 12."

Queried, the companies said they would not comment on their pricing policies. No comments about Gerdau elevating prices were mentioned yet.

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