A drop in rebar prices in the Chinese spot and future markets
late last week affected steel billet offers from the country
and made buyers increasingly cautious.
Meanwhile, expectations in some markets were affected by surging coal prices
, after several coal
producers in Australia declared force majeure
shipments due to the effects of Cyclone Debbie.
Metal Bulletin’s index of premium hard coking coal
increased by $108.10 per tonne this week, to $260.01 per tonne
The Chinese billet market returned from the public
holidays of Tomb-Sweeping Festival with a slight recovery, with
prices of Tangshan material surging by 40 yuan ($5.80) on
Wednesday April 5, to 3,140 yuan ($455).
Expectations in the long steel market were boosted by news of a new economic zone
country, which gave momentum to billet prices.
But the gains were short-lived and, in the last two days of the
week, billet and rebar prices
"East China is forecast to experience a rainy April, which
might result in low trading activity during the whole month," a
Shanghai-based trader said.
Traders in the country’s northern region cut rebar
prices consecutive times on Friday, but still failed to
increase sales volumes.
Domestic rebar prices in northern China also decreased by
180-190 yuan ($26-28) per tonne from a week earlier, to
3,400-3,430 yuan ($493-497) per tonne.
Chinese traders are more concerned about weak demand from Southeast Asia
, one of
the major markets for the country’s exports.
In Southeast Asia, billet prices fell
for the third
consecutive week, reaching levels close to those seen in
The drop in Chinese prices later in the week made Southeast
Asian buyers even more nervous, as they are waiting to see when
the market will reach a bottom.
In Indonesia, cargoes from Russian and Turkish producers were
offered at $435-440 per tonne cfr early in the week, but buyers
were not willing to accept these price levels.
At least one deal from India-origin material was heard last
week below $420 per tonne cfr in the country.
In Thailand, a deal for a small volume was closed for Iranian
material at around $400 per tonne cfr, but the price was not a
reference to the market, according to a source.
In both Indonesia and Thailand, buying interest remained below
$420 per tonne.
In the Philippines, offers from Chinese traders were at $450
per tonne cfr before the public holidays, but on Thursday,
billet offers fell to $440-445 cfr.
Chinese traders were willing to accept bids of as low as $435
per tonne cfr, but there was no interest from buyers.
In the CIS region
attempts to reduce prices were met with reduced supply from
local billet producers.
Buyers in Egypt were bidding at $390 per tonne cfr for CIS
material, as the country was affected by currency scarcity and
low domestic long steel prices.
But CIS-based mills wanted to sell at $395-405 per tonne fob
Black Sea, as a rebound in ferrous scrap prices in Turkey
being anticipated by producers.
Also, steelmakers are sold out of April production, and are yet
to launch offers for May-rolling material.
In this context, offers of CIS-origin billet
came mainly from
traders, which were heard offering material at $405-420 per
tonne cfr in Egypt, the equivalent to $385-390 per tonne fob
Metal Bulletin’s weekly price assessment for CIS
billet exports widened downward to $370-395 per tonne fob Black
Sea on Monday April 3, from $385-395 per tonne fob previously.
In Egypt, market participants were increasingly concerned about
the rise in Australian coal prices.
"I think billet prices will increase soon as coke prices are
increasing, and demand may improve then as stocks will be
reduced," a trader told Metal Bulletin.
Metal Bulletin’s price assessment for Egyptian
billet imports was $390-410 per tonne cfr on Thursday 6, up
from $390-405 per tonne cfr a week earlier.
Offers for Iranian billet into the UAE were heard as low as
$395-405 per tonne cfr, but no deals were closed amid reduced
In Turkey, the drop in scrap prices from late March remained
the main driver for the billet market this week, which saw a
slight reduction in billet import prices.
Turkish buyers were willing to pay around $395-400 per tonne
cfr, while offers from CIS producers were at $405-415 per tonne
Metal Bulletin’s weekly assessment of Turkish
import billet prices narrowed downward to $400-405 on April 6,
from $400-410 a week earlier.
On the export side, prices remained unchanged at $405-410 per
Metal Bulletin will launch a weekly index for CIS export steel billet
on a fob Black Sea basis, beginning on May 15.
It was observed that the liquidity in the CIS export billet
market required a more specific methodology and tailored
calculation, and the index was developed after following
research and consultation with the industry.
Juan Weik in Singapore contributed to this report.