Sentiment in the China import scrap market has turned bullish after downstream steel prices rebounded on Tuesday April 13.
Chinese steel mills have continued to bid at high prices for HRS101 imports, including at $487-490 per tonne cfr east China and $500 per tonne cfr northeast China.
Offers were at $500 per tonne cfr east China and $510-515 per tonne cfr northeast China.
“Offers have been high because freight rates remain very high,” a trader in east Asia said.
Exporters continue to struggle to find vessels with capacity of 2,000 tonnes all the way up to 10,000-15,000 tonnes to call at Japanese ports amid strong demand for products such as steel, corn and coal in China, sources have told Fastmarkets in recent weeks.
Fastmarkets’ price assessment for steel scrap, heavy recycled steel materials, cfr China was $487-495 per tonne on Tuesday April 13, up by $3-5 per tonne from $484-490 per tonne cfr China on April 12.
Still, some buyers in China remain cautious about purchasing imported ferrous scrap, with one heard bidding at as low as $470 per tonne cfr China.
“Our interest for imported ferrous scrap scrap is thin because domestic prices are still lower than imported prices,” a buyer source told Fastmarkets.
The bullish sentiment in China has been supported by major Japanese mini-mill Tokyo Steel increasing its domestic scrap buying prices, which have also supported export scrap offers. As of April 13, Tokyo Steel will pay ¥۴۱,۰۰۰ ($۳۷۵) per tonne for H2 at its Utsunomiya works, up by ¥۱,۰۰۰ per tonne from its previous buy price set on March 25.
Prices in the rest of Asia have also continued to increase.
A South Korean steelmaker was heard to have bought 10,000 tonnes of Japanese H2 scrap this week at ¥۴۳,۰۰۰ per tonne fob, up from ¥۴۲,۵۰۰ per tonne fob last week.
Taiwanese buyers have bought containerized heavy melting scrap (HMS) 1&2 (80:20) cargoes at up to $430 per tonne cfr today, with other negotiation levels at $425 per tonne cfr Taiwan.
Japanese H1&H2 (50:50) cargoes were offered at $460-465 per tonne cfr Taiwan.
In Vietnam, Japanese H2 was offered at $460-465 per tonne cfr, while offers for Japanese HS were at $500-505 per tonne cfr. Offers for Japanese Shindachi busheling scrap were at $505-510 per tonne cfr Vietnam. A Japanese trading source said he expects Vietnamese buyers to be able to pay $495 per tonne cfr for HS.
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