Prices of CIS-produced slab remained at $525-535/t fob Black Sea last week, despite the challenges in the Turkish flat steel market, a major CIS slab buyer.
Strong flat steel production volumes and prices in the US are supporting global slab demand, with Brazilian suppliers’ offers having reached $600/t fob last week. At least one sale of Brazilian slab was concluded at the level, according to market participants speaking to Kallanish. The sale was for a prompt delivery of August-produced material, according to one source.
Meanwhile, Italian re-rollers booked Ukrainian slab at $555/t cfr, equivalent to $535/t fob, according to the supplier. Southeast Asian slab import prices are at around $550-560/t cfr, depending on the buyer, traders say.
Demand for merchant slab, whose availability remains tight, is not subsiding, despite Turkish re-rollers' weakened demand. This has formed on the back of the lira devaluation and challenging export market environment in the wake of a sharp spike in protectionist measures in its main export markets. Additionally, the possibility of Iranian slab disappearing from the export market, should new economic sanctions be implemented, is already keeping some buyers, who switched to the country's material in the past two years, on their toes.
"No ship owner is going to sail under the country's flag, should it become subject to sanctions," one seasoned trader says. This is despite slab produced at the former Industrial Union of Donbass’s Alchevsk plant, which is run by Ukrainian separatists, being offered to the market and bought without major problems, although to a very narrow number of buyers, Kallanish is told.