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CIS billet market at a crossroads, market awaits mill offers - 10 May 2012

The CIS commercial billet export market is not active at the moment, as producers are only expected to come out with June casting offers today. Traders and re-rollers in Turkey claim they are able to buy at the levels equivalent to $590-595/t fob Black Sea, and $610-614/t cfr Southern Turkey, but there were no confirmations of deals going through at these levels yesterday.

“I could buy at $590-595/t fob Black Sea, but didn’t, as I haven’t got orders,” one large trader said. Another, major trader, said he hasn’t seen any offers below $600/t from Black/Azov Sea, but admitted the billet has been slipping in sentiment this week. “We haven’t come across any offers below $600/t fob, mills are still officially at $605-610/t fob, and our bids below $600/t levels have all been rejected,” the trader said.

Russian producers are only expected to start actively offering today after local holidays in early May, but there have already been sales from Russian producers this week. According to market sources, Mechel sold a large consignment of commercial grade billet on cfr Jeddah basis at $645/t. There were 120,000t of billet sold to Saudi Arabia this week at these levels, according to traders, with specifiable grades sold at $655-660/t cfr Jeddah.

However, the current weakening of the euro against the dollar is opening export opportunities for the European producers, increasing the competition among sellers in the Black Sea basin.

Meanwhile, the Southeast Asian offers to Russian sellers in the Far East have been in line with the end of April levels, this week, Russian source said. Evraz is said to have received bids at $645-650/t cfr, but was forced to decline owing to a lack of available volumes.

The sentiment is of very low demand and relatively low availability – as producers already dipped into the June casting volumes – which may prevent a major price fall. However, there is a vast possibility of weakening in two weeks’ time, sources add, as the delivery times will be around early Ramadan and approaching the European holidays and monsoon season in Asia.

 

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