SINGAPORE March 20 2014 10:35 AM
SINGAPORE (Scrap Register): The average ASEAN hot rolled cold (HRC) steel import prices (CFR ASEAN port) slipped by $0.5 month-on-month to $563.10 per ton in February this year, as per the latest figures released by the The Steel Index.
According to TSI, the return of China to the export market after the Lunar New Year holiday failed to bring any further price clarity for the ASEAN region. Chinese exporters were faced with bearish sentiment and falling raw materials prices, leaving them unable to implement increases. Transactions for Chinese exports remained largely stable throughout the month, though there was a slight weakening by the end of February.
Sluggish demand in South-East Asia helped to supress HR coil import prices in the region. Japanese and South Korean steel producers (both exempt from a number of anti-dumping duties) attempted to raise offers for HR coil SAE grades by $20 a ton to $600 a ton (CFR Asean). They faced resistance from buyers, who opted to delay purchases in the declining market. TSI’s monthly average for ASEAN HR coil imports slipped to US$563.10/t in February (-0.5% m-o-m).
ASEAN HR coil swaps (basis TSI) traded several times on day one of launch, including at $570 a ton for March according to a London-based brokerage, and has continued developing. Trading house Concorde Fortune and a European counterpart were involved in that initial trade.
Chinese customs reported finished steel exports in January 2014 totalled 6.8 million tons, the highest level since October 2008. Total steel exports in 2013 increased +10% y-o-y to 62 million tons, out of which 43 million tons was destined for Asia.
The Japanese Iron & Steel Federation reported HR coil exports rose +12% y-o-y to 11.5 million tons in 2013. The main export destinations were South Korea, China and Thailand, which imported 2.4, 1.6 and 0.9 million tons respectively.
South Korea imported a total of 5.4 million tons of HR products in 2013, of which 41% was Chinese origin material. HR exports in 2013 totalled 6 million tonnes, 2.4 million tonnes of which went to ASEAN countries, according to the South Korean Iron and Steel Association.