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Asian hot-rolled coil prices were largely stable Thursday after rising for seven consecutive sessions. Market participants awaited more clarity on the direction of Chinese market, which saw a downward correction in both futures and physical market on the day.

S&P Global Platts assessed SS400 HRC 3 mm thick at $454/mt FOB China Thursday, unchanged day on day. On a CFR Southeast Asia basis, the same grade of coil was assessed at $451/mt, also stable from Wednesday.

Chinese mills mainly kept their official offers for January unchanged for SS400 HRC Thursday prevailing at $455-$460/mt FOB, with some mill suspended quoting at $455/mt FOB. Buying indications were heard at $440-$445/mt FOB level, which was too low to conclude any deal.

A downward correction on Thursday seen in futures and physical market had limited impact on mills' export position, as the market fundamental has not changed at the moment, market sources said. Inquiries were fewer on the day, but mills were yet to adjust their focus to the export market, as "mills haven't seen more sales pressure in the domestic market," said a northern China mill source.

Traders in Chinese domestic market on Thursday mainly regarded the decrease as a downward correction after prices rose for seven straight business days. They also cited domestic industry data saying market inventory still on a downward trend, which seems the turning point has not been around.

Separately, Platts assessed SAE1006 HRC at $460/mt FOB China Thursday, unchanged day on day. On a CFR Southeast Asia basis, the same grade of coil was assessed at $447/mt, stable over the same period.

In Vietnam, the SAE market did not improve further, after the tradable level rose to above the $445/mt CFR level Wednesday. Sellers kept trying to boost the market high, with offering level for Indian SAE for January shipment at $460 CFR, and $455/mt CFR for December shipment, essentially unchanged day on day. It remains uncertain whether the $450/mt CFR level would be accepted in the near term, as the market need fresh bids to confirm the trend.

In Shanghai, the spot price of Q235 5.5 mm HRC was assessed at Yuan 3,670/mt ($522mt) ex-stock, including VAT, down Yuan 15/mt from Wednesday.

On the Shanghai Futures Exchange, the most actively traded January contract closed at Yuan 3,496/mt Thursday, down Yuan 33/mt or 0.9% from Wednesday, after the contract hit a highest point since end September Wednesday.

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