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Slab import market in East Asia hit by bearish sentiment - 23 May 2012

Market sentiment for imported commercial-quality slab is very weak in East Asia due to the softening of flat steel markets. The regional steel import markets have been adversely affected by the ongoing euro zone debt crisis, as well as the slide in regional Asian currencies against the dollar.

Russian-origin re-rolling slab was booked earlier this month at $590-595/tonne cfr Taiwan and at $595/t cfr Indonesia, regional trading sources told Platts Steel Business Briefing. These included three cargoes of around 30,000 tonnes each to Indonesia.

Re-rollers in Taiwan would be aiming to book slab now at $580/t cfr because HRC prices are falling, a Taiwanese trader said. He believed that, as steel market sentiment is now bearish, slab users would not be in any hurry to make slab bookings.

While many traders are unable to say where new slab offers prices are, some said that prices are about the same as recent transacted prices. Russian mills' offers are currently at $605-610/t cfr whereas traders are offering at $590-595/t cfr, a Thai trader said.

A regional trader did not see any "issue" for slab prices to go up as both hot rolled coil and iron ore prices are falling, He had heard of new offers for Russian-origin slab at $590-600/t cfr.

Spot regional bookings took place last month at $600-610/t cfr East Asia, as Platts SBB reported.


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