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Featured Article - Indian HRC import market retreats on Chinese price rise - 21 July 2011

The market for hot rolled coil imports into India, which had begun to gather momentum over the past ten days, is now seeing buyers again shunning higher-priced offers, especially from China. Indian buying interest had picked up in line with the recent firming of HRC prices in China’s domestic market. But a parallel increase of about $25-30/tonne in Chinese export offers is leading buyers to retreat from the spot market.

Steel Business Briefing hears unconfirmed reports of transactions concluded about two weeks ago at $710-715/t cfr for Chinese-origin 3mm and above boron-added SS400 commercial grade HRC. Chinese export offers for this material have since increased, from $710-715/t cfr then to about $740/t cfr now, a price level that importers are now resisting.

Indian bids still remain close to the levels of $680-690/t cfr as seen two weeks ago; bids could go up to $700-705/t cfr now for Chinese material, traders expect.

Whether the subsequent weakening in Chinese domestic prices – as seen on 15 July – would pressure export offers downward remains to be seen. But most Indian traders surveyed by SBB suggest that now is a good time to book import orders; cargo arrivals in mid- to end-September would coincide with an anticipated uptrend in domestic prices ahead of the Indian festive season in October (see separate article).

Meanwhile, some users in India recently booked Japanese-origin SAE1006 re-rolling grade HRC at $720-725/t cfr for mid- to end-September arrivals. But Japanese material is available at these prices only to “select” customers and end-users; offers otherwise stand at $740-750/t cfr, SBB is told.


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