Prices for CIS-origin billet changed little over the week ended Friday June 4 amid a lack of trading activity, with the number of deals limited by a mismatch between offers and bids.
steel billet index ***
Fastmarkets’ daily steel billet index, export, fob Black Sea, CIS, was $653 per tonne on June 4, unchanged day on day and back to the level seen on Monday after a midweek dip.
Billet offers from mills and traders to Turkey were heard within the range of $675-700 per tonne cfr during the week ($655-680 per tonne fob Black Sea), while bids varied in the range of $655-660 per tonne cfr ($635-640 per tonne fob Black Sea).
By the end of the week, offers from traders had moved to $670-680 per tonne cfr ($650-660 per tonne fob Black Sea), but they still failed to spark any interest amid buyers, whose bids slipped to $650-655 per tonne cfr ($630-635 per tonne fob).
One of the reasons for the low demand from Turkey was that country’s weakening long steel markets, both domestic and export.
Upward movement of prices in Asia, amid greater restocking demand from buyers and a slight rise in Chinese futures markets, was not sufficient to support CIS billet exports.
Sources said that $680 per tonne cfr would be the maximum that Chinese buyers would pay for imported material over the week. This would net back to $620 per tonne fob Black Sea, while most recent offers from Russian and Ukrainian mills were in the range of $650-670 per tonne fob Black Sea.
Customers in the Philippines could pay somewhat higher prices, with market participants saying that the workable price there was $680-700 per tonne cfr, which would net back to $620-640 per tonne fob Black Sea. But this was still not sufficient for CIS producers.
Some market participants suggested that CIS billet suppliers could start to make concessions unless prices in Asia rose further.
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