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SE Asian HRC import prices continue slide, buyers hold off - 24 October 2011

Offer prices for hot rolled coil continue to tumble in Southeast Asia, particularly in Vietnam. Chinese offers for 3-12mm thick SS400B HRC to Vietnam are now heard at $640-650/tonne cfr, down from $665-675/t a week ago.

“Chinese HRC prices appear to be collapsing,” a Vietnamese importer tells Steel Business Briefing. The plummet in Chinese HRC prices has been sharp and rapid – down around $50/t over the past two weeks. Regional traders believe that Chinese exporters are in a hurry to sell because of liquidity problems and concerns over slowing economic growth in the country.

The prices for other origins are similarly falling. Offers of 2mm SAE 1006 Korean HRC are now $685-690/t cfr from around $705/t cfr a week ago. A lot of around 25,000t of Japanese 2mm base re-rolling grade HRC was booked last week at around $695/t cfr Vietnam.

Around 25,000t of Ukrainian 2-3mm commercial grade HRC was booked at $680/t cfr Vietnam more than two weeks ago. “It was before the plunge in coil prices,” says a trader who believes that importers will rather delay purchases since prices have not bottomed out.

Importers are hesitating to book in the current bearish market. "Traders keep lowering prices to get bids. But buyers cannot decide whether to buy if prices keep falling,” a local trader tells SBB. This constant lowering of prices is undermining buyers' confidence in the market, he adds.

The Taiwanese mills are noticeably not offering HRC to Vietnam. "The mils here cannot compete," a Taiwanese trader says. They are aiming to export HRC at around $700/t fob.


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