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HRC import prices rising in SE Asia, albeit slowly - 2 February 2012

Chinese mill offers of 3mm thick commercial quality SS400B hot rolled coil to Southeast Asia are at $620-630/tonne fob ($640-660/t cfr) this week, but there are no takers yet, Chinese trading sources tell Steel Business Briefing.

"The market just opened this week (after the holidays). Buyers want to observe the market carefully," a Chinese trader says.

"Prices are going up. But they will be slower than mills expect," another adds. He believes buyers are monitoring sentiment for their downstream steel products. "It will be clearer next week when the markets return to normal activity.”

Bookings in Southeast Asia, particularly Indonesia and Thailand, have recently taken place for small quantities at $670-680/t cfr for thin guage re-rolling grade HRC from Korea and Japan, up by $20-30/t from previous bookings.

Many regional importers continue to be in wait-and-see mode, trading sources suggest. "Buyers are not wholly accepting higher prices. However, prices will not go down further because the mills cannot afford to sell at lower levels," a Taiwanese trader says.

"Booking prices for flat steel products are improving while those for long products are still under some pressure," a Hong Kong trader says. "HRC prices have stabilized but we have to wait to see if there is a pick-up," another regional trader adds.

 

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