ArcelorMittal Warns Steel Prices Will Increase Next Year

Prices in U.S. for strip mill products will increase by $40 a ton.

As a result of raw material and energy cost increases, Arcelor-Mittal said Nov. 19 it would increase prices for flat steel products in North America and Europe next year.Arcelor-Mittal announces price increases for flat steel products in NAFTA (grouping the U.S., Canada and Mexico) and European markets as a direct consequence of raw material and energy cost increases in 2008," it said. In the U.S., the steel group said it would raise prices by $40 a ton for strip mill products as of January 1.

That comes on top of an average $20 per ton already introduced in the fourth quarter of this year.

Arcelor-Mittal also said that current U.S. prices "are below prevailing global market levels," adding that "low inventories, falling steel imports and relatively robust demand for high quality steels should underpin a realignment of U.S. prices toward global market levels."

In the EU, the company said it would apply price increases from the second quarter of 2008, reflecting raw material cost increases.

In terms of demand, Arcelor-Mittal said it expected global growth in steel of around 6% in 2008. That would be supported by economic expansion in emerging countries, "slower but positive growth" in Europe, and an acceleration in demand in North America.

In Europe, expected economic slowdown would affect activity "after two years of exceptional demand", but growth would nevertheless remain positive, it said.

It said it expected to benefit from an adjustment in inventories as imports declined due to strong domestic demand in China and rising freight costs.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2007

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