Tepid demand for hot-rolled coil imports (HRC) persisted in the key Vietnamese market in the week to Friday September 17, with multiple factors causing prices to fall week on week.
Some buyers remained in negotiations with domestic producers Formosa Ha Tinh Steel Corp and Hoa Phat Steel and had little intention of purchasing imported cargoes.
There had been market chatter that 60,000 tonnes of Indian HRC had been sold to Vietnam by traders at $890-900 per tonne cfr Vietnam within the last week, but a source close to the Indian steelmaker said this was untrue.
“There were some negotiations going on, with bids coming in at $890-900 per tonne cfr Vietnam. However, we did not conclude any transactions,” the source said.
Some market sources in Vietnam said that price was unworkable.
“It’s not worth buying imports at these levels because the offers by domestic blast furnace-based steel mills are around the same or higher,” a Vietnamese trader told Fastmarkets, referring to recent offers from Formosa Ha Tinh Steel Corp and Hoa Phat Steel.
Hoa Phat Steel cut its offer for SS400 HRC by $10 per tonne to $896 per tonne cif northern Vietnam on Monday September 13.
Formosa Ha Tinh Steel has just about concluded most of its negotiations with buyers, with 300,000 tonnes allocated to domestic buyers and 100,000 tonnes to overseas buyers, a source close to the steelmaker said.
About 15,000-20,000 tonnes of Indian HRC was available in the spot market and was being offered at just above $900 per tonne cfr Vietnam by traders, but there was limited interest from buyers.
And 35,000 tonnes of Russian HRC was on offer at $880 per tonne cfr Vietnam for December and January-shipment, although the discharge laycan was still too far forward to enter into negotiations with traders, sources said.
Bids came in at $860-880 per tonne cfr Vietnam, but the Russian HRC remained unsold at the time of publication.
“Given how iron ore prices have fallen, it’s only a matter of time before import offers start to fall,” a buyer source at a Vietnamese galvanizing company told Fastmarkets on Friday.
Iron ore prices have continued on a downward trajectory in recent months, with Fastmarkets’ index for iron ore 62% Fe fines, cfr Qingdao falling from an intra-year high of $237.57 per tonne on July 16 to $107.21 per tonne on September 16.
Other market sources said prices at $890 per tonne cfr Vietnam were “fair value.”
One major buyer told Fastmarkets that he did not expect to book any material in the next one or two weeks, or at least until the downstream situation is clearer and negotiations for domestic supply offtake volumes have been concluded.
Fastmarkets’ weekly price assessment for steel hot-rolled coil import, cfr Vietnam, which mainly looks at 2-3mm rerolling-grade SAE1006 HRC and equivalent products, was $880-890 per tonne on Friday, falling by $10-15 per tonne from $۸۹۰-۹۰۵ per tonne a week earlier.
Earlier in the week, a major Japanese steel mill listed its new offer for November-shipment HRC at $1,000 per tonne cfr southeast Asia, while a major South Korean steelmaker was offering November-shipment HRC at $1,000 per tonne fob.
Fastmarkets’ weekly price assessment for steel hot-rolled coil (Japan, Korea, Taiwan-origin), import, cfr Vietnam was $940 per tonne cfr Vietnam on Friday, unchanged from the previous week.
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