VIETNAM STEEL SCRAP: More interest for imported scrap amid surging China billet prices

Interest for ferrous scrap imports in Vietnam has increased during the week to Friday September 10 due to rebounding billet prices in China, sources told Fastmarkets.

A possible easing of Covid-19 restrictions in Vietnam, including commercial hub Ho Chi Minh City and capital Hanoi, has also lifted sentiment slightly.

Vietnam recorded 12,420 new infections on Thursday, including 5,549 cases in Ho Chi Minh City and 4,531 new cases in Binh Duong.

There were more discussions for bulk cargoes of heavy melting scrap 1&2 (80:20) from the United States West Coast and Australia.

Bids were heard at $480 per tonne cfr Vietnam from electric-arc furnace-based steelmakers, against offers at $485-490 per tonne cfr Vietnam for Australian material.

But there were also bids heard at $495-500 per tonne cfr Vietnam from blast furnace-based steel mills, compared with offers at $505 per tonne cfr Vietnam for cargoes from the United States West Coast. At the same time, there were offers heard at $485 per tonne cfr Vietnam for cargoes from the same origin.

“Different buyers could be seeking cargoes at different price levels depending on their views on the market, as well as whether they are selling to the domestic or export markets,” a major scrap trader told Fastmarkets.

Fastmarkets’ weekly price assessment for deep-sea bulk cargoes of steel scrap, HMS 1&2 (80:20), cfr Vietnam was $485-500 per tonne on Friday, up $5-15 week on week from $480-485 per tonne due to the resurgence in interest.

Prices for Japanese scrap have also rebounded, with offers increasing to $470-480 per tonne cfr Vietnam. This is in line with the results of the Kanto Tetsugen auction on Thursday, where 20,000 tonnes of bulk Japanese H2 were heard sold to an induction furnace-based steelmaker in Binh Duong.

“Export-oriented steel mills would be able to accept $470-475 per tonne cfr Vietnam,” a buyer source in Vietnam said.

Import prices for billet in China rebounded quickly this week due to the probable extensions of production cuts until March 2022 to reduce pollution during the winter heating season. China is also working to reduce its crude steel output in 2021 so that it does not exceed that of 2020.

Hong Kong-origin H1&H2 (50:50) was offered at $465 per tonne cfr Vietnam earlier in the week.

Fastmarkets’ weekly price assessment for steel scrap H2, Japan-origin import, cfr Vietnam was $470-475 per tonne on Friday, increasing by $10 from $460-465 per tonne the previous week.

Bids for containerized cargoes were at $450 per tonne cfr Vietnam.

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