CIS export billet prices weaken for October rolling on China pressure

Prices for CIS-origin billet have softened over the past week as customers showed a preference for low-priced Chinese material over Russian and Ukrainian products, sources have told Steel First.

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Steel First’s weekly export price assessment for CIS-origin billet was $505-510 per tonne fob Black Sea on Monday September 8, down by $10 per tonne at the top end of the range from last week.

Offers from Russian and Ukrainian mills – namely, Volga-Fest, REMZ, Evraz’s DMZ Petrovskogo, and Elektrostal – have been coming in at $510-515 per tonne fob Black/Azov Seas.

A deal for a small allocation of Russian material from Novorosmetall was clinched at $510 per tonne fob Black Sea to Egypt in early September, according to four sources.

The company’s Abinsk Electric Steel plant was said to be producing rebar for the domestic market, rather than making billet for export, one trader said.

The Oskol Electrometallurgical Plant (OEMK) of Russia’s Metalloinvest was offering its October production billet for export at $510 per tonne fob Black Sea, a second trader said.

But “the time [of these prices] is over”, a third trader said. “If I bid, I will bid less than $500 per tonne fob Black Sea.”

The mills have “no chance” to sell at their offer prices, most sources said, citing stiff competition from Chinese suppliers.

“It’s all about Chinese billets,” a fourth trader said.

Prices for Chinese semi-finished products have been heard at $460 per tonne fob main port, a fifth trader said.

Most traders contacted by Steel First said that their bids for CIS-origin material were between $490 and $500 per tonne fob Black/Azov Seas. 

Bids from Turkey, a key destination for CIS billet, have been coming at $520-525 per tonne cfr over the past week, a sixth trader said.

This was equivalent to a maximum of $505 per tonne fob.