Restocking before the August lull pushed CIS billet export prices to consolidate last week after slipping somewhat in the previous week. The mills have closed August production books now and reject bids below $500/tonne fob Black Sea outright, market participants tell Kallanish.
Billet was sold at around $500/t fob Black Sea last week, with some tonnages from September production books. A Russian producer is heard to have sold 30,000 tonnes of billet to Southeast Asia at an equivalent of $505/t fob. Another sale at the same level to Turkey was concluded for drawing grade billet. Bids from Turkey circled at the $514/t cfr level – the same price as a Russian major supplier sold to Turkey the week previously. However, producers, content with their order-book status, are not accepting these offers, traders say.
There are enquiries coming from Algeria and Egypt, the latter priced at around $520/t cfr last week. This level will rise to $530/t cfr next week however, as the country is preparing for the main construction season in the autumn. Algerian enquiries are at around $500-505/t fob equivalent, depending on whether it is direct or through a trader, with a Ukrainian exporter selling a large tonnage at around $504/t fob Black Sea equivalent. Algerian demand is supported by billet production problems at one of the country's largest producer's lines.
The Tunisian market is now wrapped up for a holiday, but some hand-to-mouth southern European tonnages are available at €450/t cfr ($520/t), and $525/t cfr is not far off from being achieved, one trader observes.
Traders and producers describe the market as drifting, with little price movement expected next week. But September casting material looks likely to be booked quickly as availability is not excessive. Moreover, despite perennial rebar market sluggishness, construction is ongoing, and the wire rod market remains relatively firm.