On the scrap side, Metal Bulletin’s daily index of HMS 1&2 (80:20) for Northern European material was $331.21 per tonne cfr Turkey on Friday May 25, down from $347.27 per tonne cfr Turkey a week earlier.
Billet prices in China’s northern Tangshan region reached 3,620 yuan ($568) per tonne on Friday, down by 10 yuan per tonne from the week before.
Chinese billet prices fell as low as 3,600 yuan per tonne in the middle of the week, on weakness in the domestic rebar market, but partially recovered on Friday on higher futures.
Inventory volumes were at 350,000 tonnes on Friday, a decrease of 70,000 tonnes from the previous month, according to a billet trader in the Tangshan region.
Export offers of Q235-grade 150mm billet material were made at $525-530 per tonne fob, while offers for Q235 130mm material were made at $530 per tonne fob, down by $10 from the previous week.
Buyers did not accept such offers, however, because material at lower prices was available from other countries.
In the Philippines, a few bookings were made at $555 per tonne cfr, from suppliers in Asia, the CIS and the Middle East.
But the volumes of purchases were affected by the continuing rainy season and by the fact that buyers had made large bookings previously.
Offers for China-origin material were heard because the domestic market in the country softened during the week. Bookings of allegedly short-selling cargoes from the country were heard around $530-535 per tonne fob China, equivalent to $545-555 per tonne cfr Philippines.
In Indonesia, market activity was sluggish because of Ramadan and no trades were reported.
Metal Bulletin’s weekly assessment of Southeast Asia import billet prices was $547-556 per tonne cfr on May 21, down from $550-560 per tonne cfr a week earlier.
Metal Bulletin’s CIS export billet index started the week at $524 per tonne fob Black Sea on Monday, but the price had dropped to $515 per tonne fob by Friday amid weak trading and poor expectations among market participants.
The latest sales by the CIS region were heard on Monday at $520-530 per tonne fob Black Sea, with volumes being sold to Egypt.
But in the days following, negative sentiment started spreading in the market, caused by loss in value of the Turkish lira, decreasing ferrous scrap prices and low demand for long steel products.
No new deals were heard during the week, but market participants said on Wednesday that a workable price would be around $515 per tonne fob.
On Friday, market sources said that a viable price would be even lower, at $505-510 per tonne fob.
In Ukraine, ArcelorMittal Kryvyi Rih restarted operations last week, after a four-day strike forced it to halt production.
No new volumes from the company have been offered to the export market so far, but export offers are expected to resume this week.
In Turkey, customers were waiting for CIS billet prices to decrease further, due to the downtrend in the Turkish ferrous scrap market.
Recent bids for billet material were made at $520 per tonne cfr. Domestic and export billet markets had also softened over the previous weeks.
In contrast, Iranian export steel billet prices recovered last week, because there was a rush to buy volumes of the material before August, when trading sanctions by the United States are expected to be reinstated.
The US withdrew from an international deal concerning Iran’s nuclear power industry early in May, and announced its intention to reimpose sanctions against the country.
The latest bookings heard from the country were at $500-505 per tonne fob for late-July shipment. A deal for 300,000 tonnes of material was made to buyers in the Middle East and Southeast Asia at this price.
All steelmakers were fully booked for shipment until the end of July, with the exception of South Kaveh Steel (SKS). Offers from the company for late-June shipment were heard at $515 per tonne fob, a price considered viable by market participants.
Metal Bulletin’s weekly price assessment for Iranian billet exports was $500-515 per tonne fob on May 23, up from $490-503 per tonne fob a week earlier.
In Egypt, buyers have been hesitant about purchasing material from Iran, due to fear of sanctions.
CIS-origin billet was on offer in the Middle Eastern country at $545-550 per tonne cfr, but no major deals were heard.
Metal Bulletin’s weekly price assessment for steel billet imported into Egypt was unchanged at $530-545 per tonne cfr on May 24.
Vlada Novokreshchenova in Dnepr, Fiona Lam in Singapore, Jessica Zong in Shangai, Cem Turken in Mugla, Serife Durmus in Bursa and Suresh Nair in Mumbai contributed to this report.
Most global billet prices edged down last week, amid lower scrap prices and weaker market activity due to the month-long Ramadan religious observation in Islamic countries.