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Asian hot-rolled coil prices rose towards end of the week's closing Friday, as market activity intensified between traders and mills though the week, even though end-consumers in Vietnam remained firm on their price positions in spite of increase in inquiries.

S&P Global Platts assessed SAE1006 HRC at $441/mt FOB China Friday, unchanged on the day. On a CFR Southeast Asia basis, the same grade was assessed at $436/mt, up $5/mt on the day.

Offers for Chinese cargoes remained absent even as offers for Indian-origin coils steadily increased over the week touching $440/mt CFR Vietnam on Friday for January shipment, as Indian mills saw an opportunity to book at the opportune time.

"Most other [non-Indian] mills sold out for November-December shipment, [so] Indian material will continue to remain competitive," an Indian mill source said. "Buyers don't mind increasing inventories if the price is good."

Additionally, a deal for 40,000-45,000 mt of SAE1006 coils was heard booked by an Indian mill with a trading house at $435-$440/mt for end November-early December shipment, after a booking of 35,000-40,000 mt earlier this week by another Indian mill.

"[Buyers are] Very resistant to high crazy prices," a Vietnam-based trader said. "India mills just trying to squeeze traders who need to cover short sales."

Offers for Indian material from traders have shot up sharply nearly $20/mt during November 1-8, as per Platts market data, even though actual end-consumers continued to watch the recent uptick.

"My customers skip to give bid ...[they] still have enough cargoes for December shipment," a second Vietnam-based trader said.

Buyers in Vietnam did not improve their firm bids above $425/mt for December coils with regard to Indian coils compared to previous days, even though a bid for Japanese material was heard at $435/mt for January shipment.

"They [end consumers] want to buy ... but hesitate above $430/mt [bid] so far [for Indian coils]," a third Vietnam-based trader said.

Meanwhile, competition for Indian mills was heard to have intensified in Southeast Asia as 30,000 mt of Russian Big Coils for far shipment of early February was heard booked at $425/mt CFR Vietnam Thursday with a Korean mill booking at $418/mt CFR Indonesia on Friday.

Separately, Platts assessed SS400 HRC 3 mm thick at $434/mt FOB China Friday, unchanged on the day. On a CFR Southeast Asia basis, the assessment was $438/mt, also unchanged from Thursday.

Several Chinese-origin SS400 HR sheet offers for January shipment were heard at $451-$462/mt CFR Vietnam, depending on port of discharge and mill in question, despite sparse activity.

Vietnamese inquiries picked up this week, "but we will not sell cut sheet at below 445/mt CFR Vietnam now," a northern China-based mill source said.

Additionally, import of HRC into China, including Indian, looked unlikely given the market uptick recently even though Chinese domestic and futures market declined.

"Transaction of China [HRC] import this week is few, overseas price increased while future index dropped," a Shanghai-based trader said.

In Shanghai, the Q235 5.5 mm HRC spot price was assessed at Yuan 3,525/mt ($504.17/mt) ex-stock, including value-added tax, Friday, down Yuan 15/mt on the day. On the Shanghai Futures Exchange, the most actively traded January 2020 contract closed at Yuan 3,354/mt Friday, down Yuan 10/mt or 0.3% on the day.

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