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HRC import market continues to drift in SE Asia - 17 January 2012

The arrival of large volumes of imported hot rolled coil cargoes previously booked at lows of $620-640/tonne cfr late last year is adding more pressure to the market in Vietnam. The imposition of tight financing and credit measures continues to constrict steel demand in the country too. “It may take another two quarters before the market improves here,” a trader in Vietnam tells Steel Business Briefing.

While mills in Korea, Taiwan and Japan are targeting export prices of $670-680/t cfr for fresh offers, buyers in Vietnam and Southeast Asia are not accepting these price hikes.

Some traders report hearing that around 30,000 tonnes of 2mm SAE 1006 from Japan for March shipment was booked at $636/t cfr Vietnam. Same-grade material from Russia was sold at $610/t cfr during first-half January.

Some stockists in Vietnam are reselling their re-rolling HRC cargoes from Korea, South America and elsewhere at $620/t cfr. “We estimate that 200,000t have arrived since last month. The market is very weak,” a trader says.

Another says that, while end-users are lined up for a large portion of that material, he has heard that a distressed cargo of 26,000t is floating in the market. Bids last week for Chinese 3-12mm SS400B HRC were at $615/t cfr Vietnam against offers at $630/t cfr, he adds.

The approach of the Lunar New Year holidays will continue to cause the market to remain flat and quiet this month. “Overseas buyers are not keen to buy and would prefer to wait-and-see,” a Chinese trader says. “Traders also dare not take positions for HRC now,” he adds.


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