Chinese plate export prices fall to $590-600 per tonne fob on weak sales

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China’s export prices for plate have been slashed further over the past two weeks as producers struggle with sales.

Transaction prices for commercial-grade, boron-containing plate have fallen to $590-600 per tonne fob from $600 per tonne fob in late May. This compares with $630-635 per tonne in early May, according to steelmakers.

“There have been transactions at $590 per tonne fob,” a salesman with Shandong Steel said. But he noted that trading volumes remained low.

It is hard to secure orders at $600 per tonne and above, a sales representative from Tianjin Steel said.

“The export volume for July shipment is only about half of those for March and April even though prices have seen large drops,” an export director with Nanjing Steel said.

Most steel mills are making a loss at current price levels.

They need to sell at above $620-630 per tonne fob to break even.

China’s weak domestic market is also putting downward pressure on export prices.

Prices in the Chinese spot market have been declining, with 14-20mm plate being traded at 4,040-4,090 yuan ($638-646) per tonne in Shanghai, down 90-140 yuan per tonne from a fortnight ago.

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