GLOBAL BILLET WRAP: Price trends mixed in major markets

Global billet prices moved in different directions during the week ended Friday May 4, with limited supply and improved demand pushing prices up for Southeast Asia’s imports, China’s domestic market and Turkey’s exports.

On the other hand, poor demand and market uncertainty led to stable or falling export prices in the Middle East and CIS regions.


Southeast Asia’s billet import prices moved up further during the week mainly due to tighter supply and improved demand from the Philippines.

Deals involving cargoes from Taiwan, Thailand and the Commonwealth of Independent States were heard concluded at $555-560 per tonne cfr to the Philippines late this week, up from $540-555 per tonne cfr a week ago.

In the Philippines, several buyers were willing to pay higher prices because they were running low on inventory. Other Filipino re-rollers, who were not in a rush to procure, indicated their interest at $540-550 per tonne cfr.

Indonesian buyers were still reluctant to buy.

Some Indonesian re-rollers are hoping to purchase cheap cargoes during the Islamic holy month of Ramadan, which starts in mid-May, an Indonesia-based trader said.

Billet availability was limited during the week, particularly from the Middle East, while suppliers in China and India continued to enjoy strong domestic trading.

Middle Eastern billets were offered at $550-560 per tonne cfr to Indonesia. Offers for materials from South Korea and Central Asia were heard in the Philippines at $555-560 per tonne cfr.

Chinese offers reached $560-570 per tonne cfr in Southeast Asia and East Asia this Friday, up by $10 per tonne from a week earlier.

Domestic billet prices in China stood at 3,660 yuan ($575.71) per tonne on May 4, 90 yuan per tonne higher than last Friday.

Inventory of the semi-finished product in Tangshan was 520,000 tonnes on Friday, down by 50,000 tonnes from a week ago, a trader in Tangshan said.

Chinese offers for Q235 150mm billets were at $535-540 per tonne fob, up by $5 per tonne from last week, but no buyers were interested in buying from China due to the high prices.

CIS, Turkey
Prices for CIS-origin billet were largely stable during the week ended April 30 amid reduced buying activity.

Metal Bulletin assessed the CIS export billet price at $509 per tonne, fob Black Sea, on April 30, a minor $1 reduction from last week’s range.

Mills and traders took a wait-and-see approach, after selling large quantities of billet in the preceding week.

Traders expect price decreases in the near term, although mills were more optimistic, with some already offering at higher prices.

Most mills offered billet at $510-515 per tonne fob Black Sea, but customers are willing to pay only $500-505 per tonne fob Black Sea.

The latest confirmed bookings of CIS billets were done at $505-515 per tonne fob Black Sea to Africa and Italy, as well as to traders.

In Turkey, both domestic and export prices for billet rose on strong rebar demand during the week ended May 3, while import prices were unchanged.

The domestic price for billet in Turkey was assessed at $535-540 per tonne on May 3, up by $5 on the low end from $530-540 per tonne assessed last week, while the export price for Turkish billet narrowed upward to $540-545 per tonne, fob main port, on May 3 from $530-540 per tonne on April 26.

A weakening lira against the US dollar supported the recovery in Turkey’s domestic rebar and wire rod prices, and billet suppliers subsequently raised their prices too.

But demand for billet imports from the CIS region was sluggish, keeping Turkish import prices stable.

CIS offers heard in Turkey remained at $525-535 per tonne cfr, while Turkish buyers were bidding $520 per tonne cfr.

Middle East, North Africa
Import prices for billet and domestic rebar prices in the United Arab Emirates fell amid poor demand during the week ended May 1.

Iran offered billet to the UAE at $520 per tonne cfr, but one buyer was bidding only $495 per tonne cfr.

“Billet prices are very unstable,” a source from the buyer said.

As for Iran, billet export prices decreased during the week ended May 2, with customers targeting lower prices because of unstable conditions in the global billet market.

Recent bookings of Iranian billet were reported at $500 per tonne fob to the Gulf Co-operation Council (GCC) countries and Africa.

Iranian mill offers remained largely unchanged within $500-505 per tonne fob, but bids did not exceed $480 per tonne fob.

Iran’s offers were heard in Indonesia at $530-535 per tonne cfr, sources in Southeast Asia said.

In Egypt, billet import prices increased slightly during the week ended May 3, while local rebar prices did not change.

CIS-origin billet was on offer in Egypt at $532-540 per tonne cfr, with a deal heard at $533 per tonne cfr.

Iranian offers to Egypt were at $525 per tonne cfr.

Egypt’s demand for rebar was weak, and no improvement is expected because market activity will decrease during Ramadan.

Jessica Zong in Shanghai, Vlada Novokreshchenova in Dnepr, Serife Durmus in Bursa and Cem Turken in Mugla contributed to this report.

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