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Black Sea pig iron suppliers eye hikes as buyers take a breather

пятница, 04 декабря 2020

Merchant pig iron prices in the Black Sea market demonstrated strong gains for January and February shipments with further upside possible for March shipments, while large buyers paused active purchasing, sources said on Dec. 4.

S&P Global Platts' weekly pig iron assessment was $457.50/mt FOB Black Sea on Dec. 4, up $25/mt on week.

he last two cargoes were sold to the US at the end of November at $452/mt for Russian origin and $455/mt for Ukrainian origin, both CIF New Orleans, February-March shipment, sources said. Subsequently, the indicative target level by CIS mills for March shipments went up significantly but resulted in new deals, according to market participants.

One CIS supplier indicated an offer at around $490/mt CFR Nola. This equated to roughly $470/mt FOB Black Sea. He expected the strong upward momentum in the US scrap settlements to allow for achieving higher levels for pig iron as well.

A trade source heard CIS mills eyeing the $470/mt FOB mark for the US market, but doubted it had been achieved.

“Americans aren’t confirming even $470/mt CIF, never mind $470/mt FOB,” he said.

March shipments for April arrival were still too far ahead to buy with confidence.

“Nobody knows what will happen in April, what new laws [President-elect] Biden will come up with,” the trader said.

So far, the level $470/mt FOB was only heard in a transaction for a 5,000-mt clip to Turkey, for more premium quality. Bookings to Turkey were reported at $480-$485/mt CFR. One buyer said the last price levels he was aware of were still under $480/mt CFR.

A small cargo was also sold for the Italian market to a trader at $480/mt CFR Marghera, a couple of sources reported.Market players confirmed no new sales to China during the week, and a couple of sources said buyers in China paused their purchases.

Meanwhile, the possible price levels sought by CIS suppliers were expected to be over $500/mt CIF China, or $465-$470/mt FOB Black Sea. One mill source said he was looking for $520/mt CIF.

“Chinese are unlikely to compete at this price today. However, they will sweep everything in the market when they come back, and it may not be that far as iron ore seems to remain strong,” a mill source said.

The Chinese iron ore import pricing was at a seven-year high, with the Platts daily IODEX assessment up $7.50/mt on day to $145.30/mt CFR China.

-- Wojtek Laskowski

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