The changes followed the downward dynamics in Chinese export flat steel prices.

China’s flat steel export prices showed falls of between $50 and $85 per tonne over April, due to cuts in domestic prices as they came under pressure from high inventories and weak demand, amid steady steel output.

However, the situation has changed recently as inventories in China have reduced, market participants said. As a result, the country’s export HRC and CRC prices went up by $5-10 per tonne over the past week.

CIS export flat steel prices were expected to be supported by this market development. However, there were doubts about how long this will last.

“Oversupply is still there, so we don’t believe the current [price] increases in China will last for long,” a trader selling CIS-origin flat steel to Africa said.

Metal Bulletin’s price assessment for CIS HRC exports was $440-450 per tonne fob Black Sea on Tuesday May 2, down by $35-40 per tonne from $475-490 per tonne fob on April 3.

The current workable price was said to be $440 per tonne fob, while an offer for Russia-origin HRC was heard at $450 per tonne fob.

The price assessment for CIS exports of CRC was $490-500 per tonne fob on May 2, down by $60-65 per tonne from $490-500 per tonne on April 3.

Current offers for Russia-origin HRC were heard at $500-505 per tonne fob Black Sea, while the workable price was said to be $490 per tonne fob.

Europe sales
On a more positive note, the European market opened up for Russian and Ukrainian HRC in April after the European Commission decided not to impose preliminary anti-dumping duties on product from these countries early in the month.

As a result, European customers have revived their interest in CIS-origin HRC.

In Italy, a large consignment of Russia-origin product was heard booked at around $495 per tonne cfr, which would be equivalent to $470 per tonne fob, Metal Bulletin heard in the middle of April.