Prices for steel scrap imported into China remained steady on Tuesday May 18, with only limited spot market activity due to low buying interest.
Fastmarkets’ daily price assessment for steel scrap, heavy recycled steel materials, cfr China, which takes into account prices at ports in eastern China, was unchanged at $510-525 per tonne on Tuesday.
Chinese buyers have lost interest in purchasing recently, with fewer bids coming in due to the ongoing uncertainty about finished steel markets in China.
Bids were, however, heard at as low as $500 per tonne cfr northern China on May 18, which is equivalent to around $490 cfr eastern China.
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“The market is still stabilizing. There are even more risks associated with importing. Besides, the supply of domestic scrap has been sufficient for most of the mills,” a mill source from Hebei province told Fastmarkets.
A second mill source said his company was not bidding for imported scrap now because there was still no clarity about the trend in the downstream markets.
“We are also testing the productivity of newly-imported scrap in our mill. After the results are out, we will have a clearer view on how much to bid,” a second Hebei province mill source said.
Most offers were heard at $550-565 per tonne cfr China, with a few heard at $580-590 per tonne cfr China.
Market participants estimated that the workable price was around $520-535 per tonne cfr northern China – equivalent to $510-525 cfr eastern China.
The lower demand for imported scrap in China is the opposite of what is happening in Japan, where major Japanese mini-mill Tokyo Steel is about to increase its scrap purchase prices for the third time this month – adding ¥۱,۰۰۰-۱,۵۰۰ per tonne to its prices from May 19.
The company will pay ¥۵۱,۵۰۰ ($۴۷۱) per tonne for scrap delivered to its Tahara works, ¥۵۰,۰۰۰ per tonne at Okayama and ¥۵۰,۰۰۰ per tonne at Kyushu. It will also pay ¥۴۸,۰۰۰ at the Utsunomiya works and ¥۴۸,۵۰۰ per tonne at its Takamatsu steel center.
Taiwanese buyers have increased their bids for imported containerized heavy melting scrap (HMS) 1&2 (80:20), increasing their bids to $480 per tonne cfr Taiwan from $475 per tonne last week. Offers came in at $485-495 per tonne cfr Taiwan.
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