SSI expects 3-5% drop in slab sales price in Q3

Thailand’s Sahaviriya Steel Industries (SSI) expects its average selling price for slab to fall by 3-5% in the third quarter in comparison with the April-June period.

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The average selling price in the second quarter this year stood at $520 per tonne fob, which means the company is forecasting prices to stay at $495-505 per tonne in July-September, it said late on Thursday August 14.

In Southeast Asia, SSI is expecting slab import prices in the range of $495-515 per tonne cfr in the third quarter.

SSI’s slab operation is located in Teesside, north-east England, where it owns a 3.6 million-tpy plant that it acquired from Tata Steel in 2011, mainly as an upstream supplier for its 4 million-tpy hot rolling mill in Thailand.

But intra-company shipments have been consistently falling quarter-on-quarter as the steelmaker has been targeting more profitable markets for slab, especially North America.

“As global steel slab demand continues to step up following [the] global economic recovery, we achieved 6% [quarter-on-quarter] higher slab sales volume to third parties [in the second quarter], reaching 517,000 tonnes or 80% of [our] total sales, both our highest quarterly record,” the company said.

North America accounted for 42% of the total sales in the period, up from 36% in the first quarter this year. Shipments to Asia and Australia moved down to 20% from 32% and those to Europe and the Middle East increased to 38% from 32% over the same period.

The 517,000-tonne third-party volume compares with 486,000 tonnes, 371,000 tonnes, 333,000 tonnes and 169,000 tonnes, respectively, in the preceding four quarters.

On the other hand, slab shipments to SSI’s HRC mill in Thailand moved down to 129,000 tonnes in April-June this year from 231,000 tonnes, 342,000 tonnes, 395,000 tonnes and 527,000 tonnes in the previous quarterly periods, according to figures published on Thursday by the company.

Part of the decrease is also due to the prolonged political uncertainty in Thailand, which has been affecting SSI’s HRC business.

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