Offers for bulk Japanese H2 cargoes were heard at $450-460 per tonne cfr Vietnam, up $40 per tonne week on week from $410-420 per tonne cfr Vietnam last week.

Transactions concluded at $450-455 per tonne cfr Vietnam for up to 15,000 tonnes of H2 in two different transactions.

Some buyers indicated they wanted to purchase at $420-430 per tonne cfr Vietnam, although sources said such bids were unlikely to result in any transactions.

Market sources said there could be more upside to import prices due to the continual increases in Japanese and Turkish import prices, as well as robust prices for downstream billet.

Major Japanese mini-mill Tokyo Steel increased its scrap purchase prices again, raising them seven times in 17 days on tight domestic supply.

The steelmaker increased its purchase price by ¥1,000 ($9.69) per tonne to ¥41,500-42,500 per tonne at Tahara steel works and by ¥1,500 to ¥40,500 per tonne at Okayama steel works.

It also increased its purchase price by ¥1,500 per tonne to ¥38,000 per tonne at Kyushu and Utsunomiya steel works, and by ¥2,000 to ¥37,500 per tonne at Takamatsu steel works.

News of major South Korean steel mills purchasing Shindachi at ¥47,000 per tonne cfr and HS at ¥46,000 cfr also supported sentiment.

Bulk Japanese HS was offered at $485-490 per tonne cfr Vietnam, while barge shipments of HMS 1&2 (80:20) from Southeast Asia were offered at $450 per tonne cfr Vietnam.

Hong Kong-origin H1&H2(50:50) was offered at $442 per tonne cfr Vietnam.

"Vietnamese steel mills are not chasing prices higher, and they haven't submitted any firm bids this week. There is no way Vietnamese downstream steel products can absorb the increases in raw material pricing," a seller source in Southeast Asia told Fastmarkets on Friday.

Vietnamese billet producers are now competing with Chinese billet producers to offer export cargoes to regional buyers in light of the bullish price trends for the semi-finished steel, especially with Turkish billet prices shooting up $45-60 per tonne in the domestic and export markets.

Domestic scrap prices in Vietnam were at 8,200 Dong per kg ($354.14 per tonne) for 3mm scrap, equivalent to H2 materials, while domestic busheling scrap was being sold at 8,800 Dong per kg.

Fastmarkets’ weekly price assessment for steel scrap H2, Japan-origin import, cfr Vietnam was $450-455 per tonne on December 18, up $40-45 per tonne from $410 per tonne cfr Vietnam a week earlier.

Bulk shipments of HMS 1&2 (80:20) from the United States' West Coast were offered at $460-470 per tonne cfr Vietnam, up $20-30 per tonne from last week.

A bulk shipment of HMS 1&2 (80:20) from Australia was offered at $456 per tonne cfr Vietnam in the earlier part of the week, but the offer was withdrawn shortly after.

Bids were at $445-450 per tonne cfr Vietnam.

"Not many buyers are interested in deep-sea cargoes now because of the volatile prices. They won't want to be stuck with a large cargo if prices suddenly turn, or face performance problems by sellers, so most would rather look for smaller cargoes from Japan," a trader in Southeast Asia told Fastmarkets on Friday.

Market sources estimated that prices for deep-sea bulk cargoes were at $460-470 per tonne cfr Vietnam this week, given that H2 cargoes were sold at $450-455 per tonne cfr Vietnam.

Fastmarkets’ weekly price assessment for deep-sea bulk cargoes of steel scrap, HMS 1&2 (80:20), cfr Vietnam was $460-470 per tonne on Friday, increasing by $30 per tonne from $430-440 per tonne the week before.

Containerized materials were offered at $410 per tonne cfr Vietnam.