The deals had been concluded at about $553 per tonne cfr Vietnam for re-rolling grade material. The freight rate from Russia's Far Eastern ports to Vietnam is about $17-20 per tonne, thus the fob Vladivostok price was close to $535 per tonne, far below market prices at the time.

Earlier in December the exporter canceled several of those deals with Vietnamese buyers that involved at least 100,000 tonnes of HRC, sources said, after internal investigations by the company into the pricing of the deals were conducted. 

The Russian producer declined to comment when contacted by Metal Bulletin.

“They sold around 250,000 tonnes over several days, and the price was too low,” one trader said. All bookings were understood to have been done in November mainly for December-rolled material.

Metal Bulletin’s weekly price assessment for CIS HRC exports was $515-545 per tonne fob Black Sea during this period. According to a rough estimate by traders, fob Russia's Far Eastern ports price is around $30 per tonne higher than fob Black Sea price.

In the late November-early December period, the Russian exporter was offering the most competitively-priced cargoes at $553-555 per tonne cfr Vietnam.

Meanwhile, the next lowest offers were at $560-565 per tonne cfr Vietnam for India-origin cargoes, while China-origin cargoes were being offered at $575-585 per tonne cfr Vietnam.

But when rumors about the deal cancellations spread through the market in mid-December, the exporter hiked prices to $585 per tonne cfr Vietnam.

No CIS-origin cargoes have been heard offered to Vietnam over the past two weeks.

Market sources in Vietnam said a key supplier in the CIS region had been heard to have encountered internal administrative and logistical issues, and this had affected up to 30,000 tonnes of its spot cargoes to the Asian market.

“CIS-origin cargoes that had been booked previously in November at low prices have not been shipped, even though agreements have already been made,” a Vietnamese end-user source said.