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January, 18th 2018

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JAN 12
11:01

Chinese HRC slides but Baosteel holds the line

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Chinese hot rolled coil prices slipped last week and Baosteel kept its February prices flat as the market waited for a round of restocking. On export markets meanwhile improved bids meant prices only had to fall very slightly before some buying resumed, Kallanish notes.

In Shanghai on Friday afternoon 5.5x1,500mm Q235 HRC was trading at CNY 4,200-4,250/tonne ($646-653/t), down CNY 110/t from a week earlier. On the Shanghai Futures Exchange the May HRC contract closed CNY 43/t lower than Thursday and CNY 11/t lower than the previous Friday at CNY 3,831/t.

Domestic trading activity was reportedly slightly better than the previous week thanks to lower prices but demand was still mired in the winter lull. Traders also still held mixed views on restocking, with some traders cutting offers again on Friday to clear inventory and other increasing their offers and willing to hold stock. Northern Chinese mills meanwhile are still targeting eastern, central and southern stockist to offload their material as demand in northern China remains at a standstill.

Baosteel indicated a less optimistic tone by keeping its February HRC list prices flat from January. The move follows a CNY 120/t hike in January however which has gone contrary to spot prices. Other flat steel mills are expected to follow Baosteel’s move, holding their higher offers firm for February in the hope that the spot market will rise to meet them.

On export markets a combination of improved bids and lower domestic Chinese prices meant some deals were concluded. Earlier in the week (as reported) a northern Chinese mill sold 20,000t of SAE1006 HRC at $578/t cfr Ho Chi Min City. Later in the week another Chinese mill sold SAE1006 at $565/t fob to a trader targeting the Vietnamese and Indonesian markets. Kallanish assessed 2mm SAE1006B at $565/t fob, down $2.5/t from a week earlier.