CIS FLAT STEEL OUTLOOK: Prices to rise on Chinese exports, better demand

Prices for hot-rolled coil (HRC) and cold-rolled coil (CRC) from the CIS region are expected to rise in December on the upward trend in the Chinese export market and higher demand in other key markets.

“The key guideline for the CIS exporters, and for the global market in general, is the price for China-origin material, which has been growing since early November,” one trader told Metal Bulletin.

He expected prices for CIS-origin HRC and CRC to go up by $20 per tonne in December.

Meanwhile, a source from one CIS producer said that “the visible price growth will be moderate.”

In late November, Metal Bulletin’s weekly price assessment for CIS HRC exports reached the bottom of the market at $515-540 per tonne fob Black Sea, which was less than the China Export HRC Index by around $30 per tonne on average.

In November, prices for material from CIS exporters and those from Chinese suppliers moved in opposite directions. Over the month, the price for HRC from the CIS decreased by $12.50 per tonne on average. Meanwhile, the index for HRC exports from China increased by $16.39 per tonne.

Metal Bulletin’s weekly price assessment for CIS HRC exports was $525-550 per tonne Black Sea on Monday December 11, while the index for export HRC from China was $577.50 per tonne.

Another reason for the price growth has been the gradual demand improvement in key outlets.

In the Middle East, demand is expected to rise further, principally in the United Arab Emirates. Construction activity there is likely to be supported by activity related to the Dubai Expo 2020.

In Turkey, demand for CIS-origin flat rolled products is likely improve alongside growing domestic prices. Metal Bulletin’s weekly domestic price assessment for HRC in Turkey was $570-580 per tonne ex-works on December 8, $20 per tonne higher than in mid-November. Offers from the CIS were around $540-560 per tonne cfr.

In Vietnam, demand from re-rollers will continue to be flat until the end of the year and early next year because of the Lunar New Year holiday, which will be in mid-February in 2018.

However, CIS suppliers will manage to increase prices in the region because of increasing offer prices from Chinese exporters and higher prices for material from Indian, Japanese and South Korean suppliers.

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