Spot prices for Chinese cold-rolled coil and hot-dipped galvanized coil largely held steady over the past week amid sustained fears over an introduction of an export tax and shipping woes.
Most Chinese traders were hesitant to take a position for flat steel exports amid the uncertainty over whether the government would introduce an export tax for the products amid its plans to cut domestic steel production, market sources said.
Chinese CRC and HDG started to lose their appeal in the international market since prices rose following the removal of the value-added tax rebate for such exports on August 1, they said.
Growing shipping concerns were another headwind in the past week. Congestion at Chinese ports as a result of measures to contain the spread of Covid-19 is not only affecting orders placed previously, but also discourages buyers from purchasing products from China, sources said.
Rising freight rates are also slowing down negotiations between buyers and sellers, and traders are leaning toward the higher end of their estimates for freight when negotiating.
“We prefer to set the freight rate to South America at $145 per tonne, even though $135 per tonne looks fine now,” a Tianjin-based trader said.
Fastmarkets’ weekly price assessment for steel CRC, export, fob China main port was $1,010-1,030 per tonne on Tuesday August 24, widening downward by $5 per tonne from $1,015-1,030 per tonne a week earlier.
Liaoning province’s Benxi Iron & Steel is offering October-shipment CRC at $1,100 per tonne fob this week, unchanged from last week’s offer.
Another mill in northern China lowered its offer for CRC exports by $20 per tonne to $1,030 per tonne fob this week in comparison with previous weeks.
Market participants indicated spot prices at $1,010-1,030 per tonne fob China.
A deal involving September-shipment CRC bound for Bangladesh was concluded at $1,030 per tonne fob last week, while another involving an August-shipment cargo to Manila was concluded at $1,025 per tonne fob.
In the event that China does introduce an export tax on the product, the buyer will shoulder the additional costs in the former while in the case of the latter, the burden falls on the seller.
Fastmarkets’ weekly price assessment for steel CRC, domestic, delivered Eastern China was 6,350-6,410 yuan ($950-989) per tonne last Friday August 20, down by 40-50 yuan per tonne from 6,400-6,450 yuan per tonne a week earlier.
Traders offered China-origin cold-rolled full hard coil at $960 per tonne cfr to the Philippines in the past week, down by $20 per tonne week on week.
A major South Korean steel producer that regularly exports CRC to the wider Asian region remained out of the spot market in the week to Tuesday.
Hot-dipped galvanized coil
Fastmarkets’ weekly price assessment for steel galvanized coil, 1mm, export, fob China was $1,075-1,080 per tonne on Tuesday, up by $10 per tonne from $1,065-1,070 per tonne a week earlier.
Trading activity in China’s HDG export market remained thin during the week.
Market participants indicated that spot prices were at $1,010-1,030 per tonne fob China in the past week.
Fastmarkets’ assessment is for 120 grams-per-square-meter zinc-coated zero-spangle HDG.
Benxi Steel continues to offer October-delivery 140gsm zinc-coated zero-spangle HDG at $1,300 per tonne fob and regular-spangle HDG at $1,180 per tonne fob.
Two large mills in Hebei province are offering their 120gsm zinc-coated HDG at $1,120 per tonne fob this week.
Fastmarkets’ weekly price assessment for steel hot-dipped galvanized coil domestic, ex-whs Eastern China, which is for 80gsm zinc-coated zero-spangle HDG, was 6,750-6,800 yuan per tonne last Friday August 20, down by 60-100 yuan per tonne from 6,850-6,860 yuan per tonne a week earlier.
Traders offered China-origin 0.35mm galvanized coil at $1,080 per tonne cfr Philippines during the week, down by $30 per tonne week on week.
The major South Korean steelmaker, which also regularly exports HDG to regional buyers, did not issue any HDG offer prices in the week to Tuesday.
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