CHINA STEEL SCRAP: Steelmakers look to restock after long holiday

Chinese steelmakers looking to replenish steel scrap stocks after returning from their new year holiday on Thursday February 18, have raised bid prices for both domestic and imported material, sources told Fastmarkets.

On the first day back after the holiday, a Shandong mill raised its tender for heavy scrap by 50 yuan per tonne on Thursday to 3,050 ($472) yuan per tonne delivered, excluding value-added tax, a trader in eastern China said.

Chinese bid prices for bulk imports of heavy recycled material (HS) supplied from Japan also increased on Thursday.

Fastmarkets’ daily price assessment for steel scrap, heavy recycled steel materials, cfr China was $465-470 per tonne on Thursday, up $5 per tonne from the previous assessment on February 10 - prior to the Chinese New Year break - of $460-465 per tonne cfr.

Two Chinese mill sources said that bids for Japanese HS were at $450-460 per tonne cfr China on Wednesday, but trading sources said that buyers would be willing to go up to $465-470 per tonne cfr.

The previous deals heard into China before the new year break were for HS material from South Korea at $460-465 per tonne cfr.

A Japanese scrapyard source said the bid price from China was “aggressive” given it is higher than the fresh bid price given by South Korea, where a large steelmaker launched a public tender for Japan HS at ¥44,500 ($420) per tonne fob on Tuesday. That would work out to around $435-440 per tonne cfr after adding freight costs.

Although bids from China have increased, Japanese offer prices have increased even more sharply in recent days.

Offers from Japan were heard at $490 per tonne cfr on Thursday, but many sellers are unwilling to name a price currently given the rising steel scrap markets across Asia.

“We have received very few offers from Japanese suppliers - they are watching to see how the market changes,” a trader in Japan said.

And while some Chinese mills raised their bids to replenish inventories, there was also some trepidation on the Chinese buyer side.

“People are watching China’s domestic changes, so no price negotiations [are likely to] take place [on Thursday],” an steelmaker source in eastern China told Fastmarkets.

The Chinese steel markets, meanwhile, were buoyed on Thursday by the release of positive financial data, with the futures market and physical steel prices both pushing higher.

Fastmarkets’ price assessment for steel reinforcing bar (rebar) domestic, ex-whs eastern China was 4,450-4,480 yuan ($688-693) per tonne on Thursday, up by 170-180 per tonne from February 5.

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