Import prices for Asia hot-rolled coil in Vietnam, a major market for the flat steel product in Asia, strengthened further over the past week amid persistently short supply.
*** price assessment of January/February steel HRC
Fastmarkets’ weekly price assessment of January/February delivery steel HRC import, cfr Vietnam, which mainly looks at 2-3mm re-rolling grade SAE1006 HRC and equivalent products, was $565-570 per tonne on Monday November 16, up by $15-20 per tonne from $550 per tonne a week earlier.
Buyers in the country bought rerolling-grade SAE1006 HRC last week at $565-570 per tonne cfr Vietnam, a Hong Kong-based trader said.
This is even higher than the highest bids of around $545 per tonne cfr Vietnam in the Southeast Asian nation a week earlier.
The trader said that the transaction concluded at $565 per tonne cfr Vietnam involved a cargo of pipe-making HRC produced by a mill in eastern China scheduled for delivery in end-January. While he was not sure of the exact tonnage involved, he said the cargo was “within 10,000 tonnes.”
He said the deal done at $570 per tonne cfr Vietnam was likely to have involved a trading company, which will likely attempt to secure the cargo from any producer in China, India, Japan or South Korea that is willing to sell below that price.
He believes it to be highly possible for the trading house to buy from China since offers in the other countries are higher.
A Vietnam-based trader said offers from China were at $565-580 per tonne cfr Vietnam last week, while other countries were asking for at least $580 per tonne cfr Vietnam.
“Despite the continual price growth, buyers in Vietnam were willing to take them because they had few alternatives amid a supply shortage,” the Hong Kong-based trader said.
*** Asia hot-rolled coil , Formosa Ha Tinh Steel Corp
Vietnam’s local HRC producer Formosa Ha Tinh Steel Corp updated its offers last Thursday – it is asking for $560 per tonne cif Vietnam for January-delivery skinpass SAE1006 HRC.
It is also asking for $555 per tonne cif for non-skinpass SAE1006 HRC and $550 per tonne cif for SS400 HRC.
Although Formosa Ha Tinh’s price is much lower than offers from China and other Asian countries, the Vietnam-based trader noted that Formosa’s supply only met up to 40% of the country’s total demand.
“As long as Vietnamese buyers have to import, they would not get prices below $565 per tonne cfr Vietnam now,” the Hong Kong-based trader said.
A Zhejiang-based trader said there was little chance for China to cut its offers significantly because domestic demand for HRC was stable last week amid price gains.
*** hot-rolled coil
Fastmarkets’ daily price assessment for steel hot-rolled coil domestic, ex-whs Eastern China was 4,050-4,070 yuan ($613-616) per tonne last Friday, up by 10 yuan per tonne from 4,040-4,060 yuan per tonne a week earlier.
Chinese mills are also saving a lot of their rerolling-grade HRC for their own cold-rolled coil production amid profits of at least 300-400 yuan per tonne for the downstream product currently, a Shanghai-based trader said.
He said he had been receiving bids for rerolling-grade HRC from Vietnam but was encountering difficulty in sourcing for cargoes in China due to these reasons.
The Vietnam-based trader said the HRC shortage in Vietnam was likely to persist due to demand in the country set to rise with the end of the rainy season.
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