Spot prices for hot-rolled coil in China’s domestic market extended losses on Wednesday September 15, as weak economic data and new outbreaks of Covid-19 in the country weighed on market sentiment.
Eastern China (Shanghai): ۵,۷۱۰-۵,۷۸۰ yuan ($887-898) per tonne, down by 40-60 yuan per tonne
China’s National Bureau of Statistics released a swath of data on industrial output, retail sales, fixed-asset investment and property development investment on Wednesday morning.
The data pointed to a slowdown in growth, triggering fears that the country’s economic recovery is losing momentum and clouding the outlook for steel demand.
Meanwhile, new outbreaks of Covid-19 infections in Fujian province, southeast China, added to concerns over the country’s economic recovery.
Despite the dismal economic data exerting pressure, the most-traded HRC contract on the Shanghai Futures Exchange managed to claw back losses from overnight trading and hit an intraday high of 5,761 yuan per tonne in early afternoon trade.
Some analysts attributed the short-lived increase in HRC futures prices to a continued decline in steel output.
Data from the NBS also showed that China’s crude steel output dropped by 13.2% year on year to 83.24 million tonnes in August, the lowest since April 2020. Output for the first eight months of 2021 amounted to 733.02 million tonnes, up 5.3% from the corresponding period last year.
Fastmarkets’ steel hot-rolled coil index export, fob main port China: $۹۳۱٫۰۵ per tonne, down by $4.83 per tonne
Losses in domestic prices prompted some traders to lower their estimates of workable levels for transactions by about $5 per tonne on Wednesday, while trading liquidity remained muted.
Mainstream offers for SS400 HRC from trading houses and mills continued to be within the range of $930-980 per tonne fob China on Wednesday, while some indicated that $925-940 per tonne fob China might be workable for them.
Some suggested that spot cargoes could be sold as low as $910 per tonne fob China, but that level can hardly secure deals given cheaper resources originating from other countries and high freight rates.
Some buyers were bidding at $965 per tonne cfr Vietnam for Q355 HRC, which is equivalent to around $945 per tonne cfr, or $905 per tonne fob China for SS400 material, a Hong Kong-based trader estimated.
Offers from Indian steel mills were at $910-920 per tonne cfr Vietnam, although there was limited interest heard.
Offers for Russian HRC were at $880 per tonne cfr Vietnam for 35,000 tonnes of January-shipment material. But bids from Vietnamese buyers for such materials remained at $860 per tonne cfr Vietnam amid ongoing negotiations with domestic producers such as Formosa Ha Tinh Steel and Hoa Phat Steel.
Market sources continued to expect lackluster demand from Vietnamese buyers due to the extension of Covid-19 restrictions in the country.
“I have abstained from the export business for nearly one month due to poor demand for Chinese material,” an east China-based trader said. “Clients, especially those from Southeast Asia, are not buying Chinese material as they have cheaper choices.”
Shanghai Futures Exchange
The most-traded January HRC contract ended at 5,694 yuan per tonne on Wednesday, up by 5 yuan from Tuesday’s close.
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