Saudi Arabian steel market slows as Hajj approaches

The steel market in Saudi Arabia has slowed in the run up to the Hajj, as buyers postpone bookings until after the annual Islamic pilgrimage to Mecca.

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Even though the country’s import sources are trying to increase prices and end-user demand in the country is strong, buyers are in no hurry to book.

Hot rolled coil (HRC) was offered into the country at $615 per tonne cfr from India, $610 per tonne cfr from Egypt, and $620-630 per tonne cfr from East Asia.

The offers are for November-December delivery.

Previous import offers for HRC were $590-610 per tonne cfr.

Rebar was offered to Saudi Arabia at $600-610 per tonne cfr, slightly up from last week’s $600-605 per tonne cfr.

Saudi Arabian traders believe the market will improve after the Hajj, which is in mid-October. However, they added that, by then, companies may be busy with year-end inventory calculations and will postpone bookings to 2014.

However, other sources remained optimistic.

“Saudi Arabia is still one of the strongest economies of the region with lots of government spending on infrastructure and construction,” a market participant told Steel First. “I believe steel demand will be strong in the country in 2014 as well,” he added.