China’s hot-rolled coil prices continued to fall on Friday April 9 amid futures losses, but export prices remained high due to limited supplies.
Steel hot-rolled coil index export, fob main port China, $/tonne
Steel hot-rolled coil domestic, ex-whs Eastern China, yuan/tonne
Steel hot-rolled coil domestic, delivered Northern China, yuan/tonne
Eastern China (Shanghai): ۵,۴۶۰-۵,۴۹۰ yuan ($834-838) per tonne, down 20-30 yuan per tonne
Northern China (Tangshan) – weekly assessment: ۵,۵۰۰-۵,۵۳۰ yuan per tonne, up 60-100 yuan per tonne
Several Shanghai-based traders said trading activity had weakened from Thursday amid futures losses.
One said that many steel futures traders had kept lowering their positions in the belief that steel prices would fall further in the next few days – after reaching a record high in recent weeks.
He added that many downstream buyers had been complaining about high steel prices and minimal profits, which suggested a growing reluctance to pay high prices.
Over the past week HRC prices in Shanghai narrowed downward by 30 yuan per tonne.
In the north, meanwhile, a Tianjin-based trader said that construction expansions there were providing strong demand for steel and HRC prices edged up.
Fastmarkets’ steel hot-rolled coil index export, fob main port China: $۸۷۲٫۶۳ per tonne, up $0.72 per tonne
A second Shanghai-based trader said that some Vietnamese buyers had bought HRC from China on Friday morning at around $905 per tonne cfr Vietnam.
Because freight cost have fallen to $25-30 per tonne from China to Vietnam – down from $35-40 per tonne – that price was equivalent to around $875 per tonne fob China, he added.
A Hong Kong-based trader, meanwhile, said a private mill in northern China had traded about 10,000 tonnes of HRC at around $875 per tonne fob with Vietnamese buyers on Thursday.
On Thursday, traded prices for exports were said to be mainly around $870-875 per tonne fob.
The Hong Kong-based trader said the prices has risen because of strong restocking demand in Vietnam, while supplies overall were limited.
Market chatter ***
“Some Vietnam companies stopped production due to having no HRC inventory, especially SS400 grade. Vietnam mainly buys common grades of HRC from China, with [few alternative source] countries. Supply from China has been limited after many traders suspended selling due to [export] rebate uncertainty,” a Vietnam-based trader said.
Talks have been circulating in the market for a couple of months that China could cut its HRC export rebate to 4% or 9% or even remove it completely. Currently the rebate stands at 13%.
Shanghai Futures Exchange ***
The most-traded October HRC futures contract closed at 5,355 yuan per tonne on Friday, down by 15 yuan per tonne from Thursday.
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