Export prices for Chinese cold-rolled coil and hot-dipped galvanized coil strengthened significantly over the past week amid uncertainties over China’s export tax rebate for steel products.
But these increases paled in comparison with those experienced by hot-rolled coil, with some mills selling this product at higher prices than the two downstream flat steel products.
At least one major Chinese steelmaker has offered HRC to Vietnam at $970 per tonne cfr, which far exceeds prices for Chinese CRC and HDG even after factoring in freight costs.
Others Chinese mills are offering HRC to the export market at $780-800 per tonne fob – very close to prices for Chinese CRC – but on the condition that buyers shoulder part of the cost if China’s government decides to lower the country’s export tax rebate.
Speculation in the past couple of months suggested that Chinese authorities might lower the 13% rebate to either 9% or 4%, or remove it completely, depending on product. A complete removal is expected for the HRC rebate, while CRC might see a reduction. The rebate for HDG is expected to be unchanged.
*** Cold-rolled coil
Fastmarkets’ weekly price assessment for steel cold-rolled coil, export, fob China main port was $865 per tonne on Tuesday April 6, up by $35-55 per tonne from $810-830 per tonne a week earlier.
Major Chinese mills such as Liaoning’s Benxi Iron & Steel, Shandong Iron & Steel and Baotou Iron & Steel had not issued new offers by Tuesday.
A few smaller private mills are offering CRC at $865 per tonne this week, up by $15 per tonne week on week.
Spot market liquidity was extremely thin in the past week.
“It’s really hard to do export trades now because of the uncertainty over the export rebates,” a trader in eastern China told Fastmarkets.
Some traders estimated that mainstream offers were around $20 per tonne above Benxi Steel’s offer of $850 per tonne fob last week
Fastmarkets’ weekly price assessment for steel CRC, domestic, delivered Eastern China was 5,820-5,860 yuan ($889-895) per tonne last Friday, up by 200-220 yuan per tonne from 5,600-5,660 yuan per tonne a week earlier.
A major South Korean steelmaker is offering CRC at $950 per tonne fob this week, having not offered any cargoes in the last four weeks.
*** Hot-dipped galvanized coil
Fastmarkets’ weekly price assessment for steel galvanized coil, 1mm, export, fob China was $900-905 per tonne on Tuesday, up by $25-35 per tonne from $865-880 per tonne a week earlier.
A few small private steel mills are offering zero-spangle HDG with 80g zinc coating at $890 per tonne fob this week, which is equivalent to $905 per tonne fob for 120g zinc-coated material.
Market sources estimated transaction prices at $900-905 per tonne fob China.
China’s HDG export market has been quiet in the past week. There is conflicting views about the rebate for HDG, with some anticipating a reduction while others think it will remain unchanged.
Buyers are waiting for confirmation from the Chinese government before deciding on whether to buy from China, a Zhejiang-based trader said.
Fastmarkets’ weekly price assessment for steel hot-dipped galvanized coil domestic, ex-whs Eastern China was 6,150-6,240 yuan per tonne last Friday, up by 180 yuan per tonne from 5,970-6,060 yuan per tonne a week earlier.
The major South Korean mill did not issue offers for 140gsm zinc-coated HDG for a fifth week.
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