In the CIS export billet market events were going according to the scenario which has already become usual in the third week of December. Suppliers have been fortifing their positions in Azov-Black Sea ports and in Caspian ports, being unable to do the same for Asian destination, as local re-rollers as still fighting with a low demand for finished products.
Semis supply is still limited: most of January output has been sold out, while only few sellers are offering February production. As a result, amid steady increases in scrap segment, producers are sure they will be able to stick to the upward trend. In particular, at Azov-Black Sea ports billet offers have gone up by $5/t in a week, to $595-605/t FOB, while transaction prices have risen by $10-20/t, to $585-605/t FOB.
BMZ (Belarus) started offering January production (5,000 tonnes) on December 7 at $595/t FOB Odessa, but at the end have sold out at prices higher by $8/t than initial. ArcelorMittal Kryvyi Rih has reportedly closed January order book; however, this has not prevented from announcing offer prices up to $610/t FOB (to Iran). Most suppliers was trying to prepare the ground for future sales. Electrostal (Ukraine) has already started selling February output: a deal on 10,000 tonnes of billet was reported at $585-590/t FOB Mariupol, after which the producer raised offers by $10/t. Metal Expert has been informed that Lebanese company LITAT Group is offering square billet from IUD to UAE at $655/t C&F ($600-605/t FOB).
Offers of January production from Metalloinvest (Russia) have not been reported so far. However, taking into account that the company is focused on sales to Iran, market operators believe shipments to Black Sea ports will be minimal – about 10,000-20,000 tonnes. The initial prices are expected to be $600-605/t FOB.
CIS exporters working at ports of Caspian Sea have announced a lift in prices by $20/t, to $605-620/t FOB, on somewhat firmer demand from Iranian buyers and steady growth of square billet quotations in Azov-Black Sea region. In particular, Kazakh producer Casting has started offering its January production at $605/t FOB ($595/t CPT Aktau), $10/t up m-o-m. At the same time, bids of buyers in Iran are by $15/t lower. January production of semis from Metalloinvest (Russia) is reportedly quoted at $610-620/t FOB Caspian Sea ports.
At ports of the Far East, Russian suppliers are facing fierce competition with regional counterparts. Asian re-rollers are still not ready to purchase the material at prices over $560/t FOB ($585/t C&F). The situation is expected to improve in January due to an anticipated revival of SE Asian traders'' activity. However, some mills have already made a success. The latest Amurmetal''s tender (10,000 tonnes of square billet) has been reportedly closed at $570-575/t FOB Vladivostok. However, the volumes have been purchased by a large trading company, and thus the deal cannot be considered as a significant one. Source: www.metalexpert-group.com