FOCUS: China eyes SE Asian billet market after 3-year hiatus

Chinese traders have started offering Chinese billet for export to Southeast Asia - a trade flow not commonly seen since 2017 - in a telling sign of bearish sentiment in the domestic Chinese long steel markets.

The billet cargoes are priced at $415-420 per tonne cfr to the Philippines and Indonesia, and at $410-415 per tonne cfr Thailand, falling below asking prices for material from other origins.
A steel mill in northern China was also heard to be offering billet for export, although this could not be verified with the mill at the time of publication.
Traders are seeing opportunities to take short positions by banking on growing inventories and reduced local consumption putting pressure on domestic billet prices, sources told Fastmarkets.
The spot market in Tangshan had 646,900 tonnes of billet inventories on February 14, an increase of 123%, or 356,400 tonnes, from 290,500 tonnes on January 23, the final trading day before the Chinese New Year holiday, according to a local industry information provider.

Fastmarkets’ daily price assessment for steel billet domestic, ex-works Tangshan, Northern China, was 3,300 yuan ($472) per...


Lee Ken Kiat

February 17, 2020

03:40 GMT