DAILY STEEL SCRAP: Downturn in Chinese steel market keeps Turkish mills away from firm offers

Turkish steel mills skipped the second working day of the week with no deep-sea bookings amid negative signals from the Chinese steel industry, market participants told Fastmarkets on Tuesday May 25.

The most recent deep-sea transactions were done at the end of the last week, when a steel mill in the Iskenderun region booked a mixed cargo from the Europe at an average price of $516 per tonne cfr. The HMS 1&2 (80:20) price of the cargo was calculated at around $510-510.50 per tonne cfr.

Another steel mill in the same region booked a United Kingdom cargo consisting of HMS 1&2 (80:20) at $513 per tonne and shredded at $528 per tonne cfr.

Since the end of the last week, however, steelmakers in Turkey have retreated from the market due to the downturn in finished long steel prices in China.

China’s rebar prices fell sharply at the beginning of the week, following a decline in futures and billet prices over the weekend, after China’s National Development & Reform Committee (NDRC) declared that commodity price control was a matter of “social responsibility.”

Fastmarkets’ weekly price assessment for steel reinforcing bar (rebar) index export, fob China main port was $886.67 per tonne on May 25, down from $967.50 per tonne a week earlier.

Turkish steel and, therefore, scrap prices had been supported by the demand in Asia, with the recent changes in Chinese tax policy leading to significant increases in the priices for steel billet and finished long steel from Turkey.

“The market was strong, with long steel and billet demand from Asian countries, [but] the recent downturn in Chinese prices [has] put the market on hold for now,” a Turkish source told Fastmarkets.

And a trading source added: “US scrap merchants came to the Turkish market after a while and were offering [HMS 1&2 (80:20)] at $525-530 per tonne cfr, but it seems the mills will be unlikely to accept those offers after the downturn in Chinese prices.”

As a result of the fresh offers, the daily scrap indices inched up on Tuesday May 25.

Fastmarkets’ daily index for steel scrap, HMS 1&2 (80:20 mix), North Europe origin, cfr Turkey was calculated at $513.46 per tonne on Tuesday, up by $0.68 per tonne day on day.

And the corresponding daily index for steel scrap, HMS 1&2 (80:20 mix), United States origin, cfr Turkey was $518.03 per tonne on May 25, up by $0.67 per tonne day on day.

This put the premium for US material over European scrap at $4.57 per tonne on May 25, compared with $4.58 per tonne on May 24.

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