Export offers for billet from the Commonwealth of Independent States picked up again by the end of the week amid positive sentiment in the market.
Import scrap prices in Turkey have continued to grow, and – along with an expected rise in semi-finished and long steel prices in China after the Lunar New Year holidays – was the main factor for the optimistic mood of CIS suppliers.
Fastmarkets’ daily index for steel scrap, HMS 1&2 (80:20 mix), North Europe origin, cfr Turkey was calculated at $413.63 per tonne on Thursday February 18, up by $9.32 per tonne from Wednesday.
And the daily index for steel scrap, HMS 1&2 (80:20 mix), United States origin, cfr Turkey was $418 per tonne on the same day, up by $9.31 per tonne.
The domestic steel billet, exw Tangshan, Northern China price was 4,140 yuan ($639.46) per tonne on February 19 up by yuan 60 per tonne day on day and by yuan 290 per tonne from pre-holiday period.
In such conditions, CIS billet mills increased offers to $560-570 per tonne fob at the end of the week from $555-565 per tonne at its beginning. Some sources reported offers as high as $580-590 per tonne fob.
No fresh bookings were heard in the second half of the week as some customers booked enough material previously and some were waiting for more clarity in the market.
Fastmarkets’ daily steel billet index, export, fob Black Sea, CIS increased to $555 per tonne on Friday, up by $2 per tonne day on day.
*** Recent activity
Recent bookings of CIS-origin billet were heard done in Latin America within the range of $550-555 per tonne fob Black Sea. Some sources said that the chemistry of the material required extra payments therefore the base price would be below $550 per tonne fob.
In Turkey, recent bookings were also heard done within the range of $550-555 per tonne fob early this week.
Market participants reported no fresh bids from the Turkish side at the end of the week “as everyone [in Turkey] is waiting for mass scrap bookings.”
Another small cargo was heard booked in Tunisia this week at $550-555 per tonne fob, several market sources said.
Customers in Algeria showed no interest in import billet as current prices are not workable for them at the moment due to 15% import duty. A source from Algeria assessed workable price at “low $500s per tonne cfr.”
Bids for non-Asian origin billet were heard in China at $560 per tonne cfr, butt his price was not considered to be workable for mills selling from the Black Sea basin, considering the cost of freight of $40 per tonne.
Bookings of Asian billet were heard in China at $560-565 per tonne at the beginning of the week, and moved to $572-585 per tonne cfr by its end
“China started to import billets and scrap as well and market is simply hot in China after the break. So they [CIS] mills try to increase prices and – depending on next scrap sales to Turkey – may increase next week,” one trader said.
Higher buying prices from China dragged up the market for steel billet in Southeast Asia on Friday. Bids were heard at $570 per tonne cfr Manila for 5sp billet but sellers were heard to be unwilling to accept anything less than $580 per tonne cfr on Friday. This is up from $560 per tonne cfr heard in the recent deals for CIS-origin billet shipped from Eastern ports of Russia.
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