BEIJING, Feb. 12 -- China's top steel firm, Baosteel (600019.SS: Quote), has raised March prices of hot- and cold-rolled steel coil by 300 yuan ($43.91) a tonne, two industry sources said on Friday.
The pricing decisions by the Shanghai-based mill are regarded as a bellwether for the industry as a whole, and the move suggests the company is confident that soaring raw material costs can be absorbed by consumers -- which has been a key concern for the industry in recent weeks as trader stockpiles soared. [ID:nTOE61A03C]
Baosteel surprised the market last month when it announced that it would suspend price rises for February.
Amid uncertainties about China's economic prospects in 2010 along with tightening measures by the central bank, steel spot and futures prices began to weaken.
But analysts suggested Baosteel's February move was a political one aimed at strengthening China's position in the latest round of benchmark price negotiations with foreign miners, which the company will lead. [ID:nTOE60E03I]
Other large mills, including Wuhan Iron and Steel and Anshan Iron and Steel, refused to follow suit, raising their own February prices by 50-230 yuan per tonne.
Anshan Iron and Steel has also raised its prices for March this week, with cold-rolled and hot dipped galvanised steel both set to rise by 100 yuan per tonne.
For a table of historical prices, please click [ID:nSHA334343]. ($1=6.832 Yuan) (Reporting by Rujun Shen, Shao Xiaoyi and David Stanway; Editing by Jacqueline Wong)