At least 35,000 tonnes of Malaysian and Vietnamese billet have been sold to China at $433-435 per tonne cfr since last week.
Billet from Southeast Asia is preferred among Chinese importers due to the shorter shipping period and because it is not subject to a 2% import tax that would be imposed on materials originating from other regions, sources said.
These cargoes are likely to be heading for southern China, where prices remain above levels seen in eastern China’s Jiangsu province, which was previously the major entry point for imported billet, Chinese sources told Fastmarkets.
Sources also said domestic billet prices had plunged over the past week because the delivery of imported billet had weakened demand for material produced locally.
On December 13, the price of billet in Guangzhou, the largest steel market in southern China, was 3,700 yuan ($527) per tonne, while prices in Jiangsu province were...