Iranian producers of steel billet export were continuing to increase their offer prices in mid-April, supported by demand from Asian markets.
A cargo of 20,000 tonnes was reported sold to a trader over the weekend of April 10-11 at $576 per tonne fob southern Iranian ports.
A further 30,000 tonnes from a different producer were booked at $579 per tonne fob early this week.
This billet price was higher than in bookings last week at $570-571 per tonne fob.
A third mill was reported to have opened a tender this week for 20,000 tonnes of billet, with the supplier targeting $580 per tonne fob southern Iranian ports.
“We have huge [numbers of] inquiries from China and East Asia now,” one trader said.
This was despite the news about reduced demand for imported billet in the Chinese market amid higher domestic supply, as well as following comments from Chinese Premier Li Keqiang that urged greater regulation of raw material prices to ease the cost pressure on companies.
“Today, China is requesting a price of $630-635 per tonne cfr,” the trader said, adding that Indonesia and Philippines were looking for the same price range as China, while the Thai market was off work because of its Buddhist new year holiday [April 13-15].
“Freight [costs] are going through the roof,” another trader said, adding that the cost of transportation for 40,000-50,000 tonnes in a supramax vessel to Asia was $45-50 per tonne.
“There are too many cargoes around and not enough ships to carry them. There is no sign of freight rates softening in the next 2-4 weeks,” he added.
Another source said the cost of freight from the southern ports of Iran to Asia was around $45 per tonne.
And a fourth source said that a 30,000-tonnes cargo could be delivered to China for $38 per tonne. But an additional $10 should be considered for trader’s margin and banking costs.
Fastmarkets’ weekly price assessment for steel billet, export, fob ports Iran, was $576-579 per tonne fob on April 14, up from $570-571 per tonne fob.
In the slab sector, no fresh transactions have been heard concluded between Iranian mills and traders.
One of the country’s major slab exporters opened a tender for 30,000-40,000 tonnes of slab to be closed on April 19. The supplier was said to have no target price at the moment.
In the previous round of sales, Iranian mills achieved $635-650 per tonne fob southern Iranian ports, depending on the volume and quality of material.
Fastmarkets’ weekly price assessment for steel slab, export, fob ports Iran, was unchanged week on week at $635-650 per tonne on April 14.
A large cargo of Iran-origin slab was reported booked by a customer in Indonesia at $690 per tonne cfr.
Bids from the country for Iranian material were heard at $680 per tonne cfr, while Chinese customers were said to be looking for $670-675 per tonne cfr.
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