Brazilian steelmakers to hike April prices up to 20% for flats, longs

Brazil steelmakers are moving to recover lost margins after a rapid rise in the price of raw materials and semi-finished steel seen since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

According to several sources, mills are pushing a price increase of up to 20% on domestic orders for April, in both flats and long products.

The increases are set to be divided into two parts, expected to be applied at the start of April and in the middle of the month.

Companhia Siderúrgica Nacional, in an interview with local media, disclosed plans to raise prices 12.5% April 1 and 7.5% April 15. The increases would affect both the company’s flats and long steel portfolio.

Gerdau proposed a 10% increase for early April on flats products, according to multiple sources. Despite the lower percentage, the company was one of the few that enforced a 7% hike on March orders.

Usiminas is expected to increase flats prices by a total of 20%, divided into two parts starting with 10%-12% at the start of April, according to sources.

“A second wave of increase should come in mid-April, with all mills converging to the 20% price increase,” a market participant said.

Mills proposed a 5%-8% price increase by late February, but sluggish demand within the sector forced most domestic mills to step back and resume negotiations on old listings.

On the longs side, both Gerdau and ArcelorMittal are pushing a 10%-12% price increase, while ArcelorMittal limited orders, probably waiting to see how the hike would be absorbed in the market.

Gerdau has announced a second 15% increase on its long steel products, according to notices consumers received.

“We will certainly receive the new pricing list until the end of this month, with higher prices effect,” said a construction company source.

Gerdau, Usiminas, and ArcelorMittal declined to comment on their price policies.

The increasing costs of imported metallurgical coal and global semi-finished products have dented companies’ margins.

S&P Global Commodity Insights assessed the weekly Platts Brazilian steel slab price at $1,100/mt FOB Brazilian ports March 11, up $250 from the previous week, based on a $1,000-$1,200/mt FOB range. In comparison, the Platts Brazilian domestic HRC price was Real 6,100/mt ($1.194/mt) ex-works March 11, showing a very compressed spread between the semi and the finished product.

The same occurred on Brazilian domestic 10mm rebar, assessed at Real 4,205/mt March 11, or $832.11/mt, while the Platts Turkish price for the export-oriented billet was $890/mt FOB March 1, based on a range of $880-$900/mt FOB range.

Among raw materials, S&P Global assessed the Australian premium low volume hard coking coal at $670/mt March 14, a 52% jump since Feb.14, while the Brazil export-oriented pig iron was assessed at $800/mt FOB southeastern port March 11, a 47.7% surge from Feb. 14.

— Jose Guerra