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CSN, ArcelorMittal, Usiminas raise flats prices 12%

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

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The new round of price hikes has been possible given the combination ofrecent rebound in prices in the international market and a favorable foreignexchange rate, which puts the domestic product in a "discount" position overthe 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 ofconcern, inventories at the distribution sector are normalizing and operatingrates at the industry rising.

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

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

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

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

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

--Bruno Martins,

--Edited by Richard Rubin,