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Asian HRC flat for third day; Ukrainian offers emerge in Southeast Asia

Dienstag, 21 Januar 2020

Trading activity in the Asian hot-rolled coil market was at a standstill Tuesday for the third consecutive day, as buyers continued to wait on the sidelines unwilling to bid, even as offers from Chinese mills began to dry up.

S&P Global Platts assessed SAE1006 HRC at $508/mt FOB China on Tuesday, unchanged day on day. On a CFR Southeast Asia basis, the same grade of coil was assessed at $515/mt, unchanged over the same period.

Offers for rerolling grade coils dried up in Vietnam for most origins, with the exception of Ukrainian HRC that was heard offered at $490/mt for pipe-making and in small coils. In the meantime, a deal for a Ukrainian mill was heard concluded for 20,000 mt of SAE equivalent pipe-making grade small coils at $485/mt CFR Pakistan last week.

“Most Vietnamese [buyers] have no experience with Ukraine material, I tried to promote some months ago, but buyers are reluctant to try,” a Shanghai-based trader said, adding:

“Pakistan had been using [Ukrainian] HRC and CRC [since] last far they [have] accepted the quality for pipe making.”

Bids from customers in Vietnam became hard to come by amid lack of buyer interest despite the competitive Ukrainian offer, a trend likely to continue during the two weeks of holidays. Meanwhile, according to an Indian mill source, it was seen having less export allocation for February shipment compared with previous months, to the tune of 5,000-10,000 mt.

“We feel market will be even better towards the end of February,” he said, adding:

“Everything depends on how China market opens up after the holidays.”

Separately, Platts assessed SS400 HRC 3 mm thick at $500/mt FOB China on Tuesday, unchanged day on day. On a CFR Southeast Asia basis, the same grade of coil was assessed at $496/mt, also unchanged day on day.

As reported by Platts Monday, most Chinese mills stopped quoting or taking orders, except one private mill which was heard still inclined to take orders only if those were in line with its price expectation.

"Although some buyers want to buy, but their indications still too mills and traders either have stopped quoting or started their holidays," a Shanghai-based trader said.

Meanwhile, sentiment in the futures market remained subdued, largely amid news of the fatalities around Wuhan flu. In Shanghai, the spot price of Q235 5.5 mm HRC was assessed at Yuan 3,860/mt ($559.201/mt) ex-stock, including value added tax Tuesday, unchanged day on day. On the Shanghai Futures Exchange, the most active May contract closed at Yuan 3,593/mt Tuesday, down 1.1%, or Yuan 41/mt, day on day.

-- Analyst Yuelin Dai,

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