Billet prices in Southeast Asia steady on firm demand

Billet prices in Southeast Asia are holding steady, buoyed by stable scrap prices and demand from Indonesia, trade sources said.

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Billet offers into the region were seen in the range $550-575 per tonne cfr, little changed from prices over the past two weeks, they said.

Offers from Malaysia were heard even higher at $580-590 per tonne cfr, while Russian materials were offered at around $550 per tonne cfr.

“[Prices] have been quite consistent. Most of the billet supply comes from Russia. Billets are not allowed for exports in China,” a Singapore-based trader said.

China, the world’s largest producer and consumer of steel, has imposed an export tax of 25% on billets in a move to keep production at home.

Some mills in Indonesia have turned to importing billet amid uncertainty surrounding the import of scrap. Customs authorities began seizing thousands of containers carrying scrap metals during the early part of the year for alleged contamination by hazardous waste.

The move has given support to prices of the semi-finished product, both locally and regionally.

The price of billet delivered locally in Indonesia was heard in the region of $620 per tonne. Still, there is no lack of buyers at this level, a Jakarta-based trader said.

The locally-made billets are sold in smaller lots compared with imported billets, meaning buyers are able to buy them as and when they require, reducing the need to carry inventories, he explained.

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