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Kallanish Kallanish

Knowledge matters Knowledge matters

January, 19th 2020

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DEC 05
16:48

CIS slab prices rise again

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Slab prices from CIS suppliers have risen again, and are likely to continue rising unless they plateau, amid a relative shortage of material compared to demand volumes.

Turkey remains a driving force for the increase, as Turkish re-rollers have accepted $400-405/tonne cfr offers and booked another considerable tonnage from a Ukrainian supplier. Turkish domestic hot rolled coil prices reached $480/t ex-works late last week.

The aggregate tonnage booked by Turkish re-rollers during the past month is estimated at around 200,000 tonnes. This is enough to cover requirements and ease suppliers' books sufficiently to almost close January allocations, Kallanish hears.

The Italian market remains in disarray due to ongoing uncertainty over Ilva's fate, but some bookings were made at $395-400/t cfr over a week ago. More are expected when the Ilva situation clears up some more.

Southeast Asia is still catching up with the current price trend: having received offers at $440-450/t cfr, one producer cancelled a tender. Suppliers say $420-430/t cfr is a workable level for now. Considering overall HRC and feedstock price rises and the approach of a seasonal restocking push, however, those levels are not workable, and there is no slab reported available at this level from the CIS.

Traders cite low availability from one traditional supplier due to ongoing upgrades at its flagship steelworks. Other factors are increasing Russian demand from pipe producers, lack of availability from the ex-Baltic Russian producer for another couple of months, and an almost total sell-out of a Ukrainian supplier. 

None of the sources spoken to consider the re-introduction of Section 232 import duties for Brazil as a negative factor for the market. Although some re-shuffling of trade flows is possible, in the end it is US re-rollers and their buyers who will pay the price. "Brazilians will make their slab just that little bit cheaper to keep the CIS out of the US," one source says, noting that sentiment for CIS slab continues to strengthen.