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China’s HRC exports rebound, prices rise further - 29 February 2012

China’s exports of hot rolled coil and sheet rebounded by 28% month-on-month in January after falling for three consecutive months. Chinese exporters expect the HRC export volumes to continue growing in the coming months following improved orders in December-January for February-April shipment.

China exported 316,743 tonnes of HRC in January, up 69,677t or 28% from December, according to data supplied by China’s customs. January shipments were mainly ordered from late-October through November when HRC export prices had plateaued, exporters tell Steel Business Briefing.

Chinese HRC export prices have increased since early January on the back of improved orders. However, as HRC producers continued pushing export prices higher in February, transactions have slowed. Exporters believe some time will be needed to see whether buyers could accept the recent rapid price increases.

Currently, prevailing export offer prices for Chinese boron-added HRC 5.5mm thick and above have increased to around $635-640/tonne fob for May shipment, up $5-10/t from early February and up $35-40/t from early January. Some deals have already been closed at around $635/t fob to South America, up $10/t from early February.

Mills are raising prices so quickly that, right after deals closed at $635/t fob, some lifted offer prices by another $5/t to $640/t fob, a Shanghai-based exporter tells SBB. However, the rising prices have slowed overseas buying, and it is hard to predict whether buyers will accept further price rises as it is difficult to foresee developments in the global economy, some exporters say.


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