CIS merchant pig iron sellers have delayed offer indications this week, pegged by limited availability from the traditional suppliers, and ongoing support from unyielding feedstock price levels.
Talks are ongoing between CIS and US buyers for September-produced material, vital for fourth quarter restocking, with price indications rising by around $5/tonne to $370-375/t cfr Nola. In this way, expectations of the lower level of the range will have been achieved. The idea is being supported by attempts to raise US flat products prices by up to $40/short ton. This is however being constrained somewhat by an increase in freight rates of around $5/t, market participants tell Kallanish.
Offers to Southern European buyers and to Turkey have also increased, to around $365-370/t and $360/t cfr respectively, but buyers remain on the fence in a lull that is fraught with tensions. These are due to uncertainty and worsening expectations over market development come the Autumn. Turkish mills stocked up on Brazilian material at around $340/t cfr for lower grade material with high content of phosphorus. They have more appetite for pig iron at these prices, ruling out CIS pig iron due to its higher price.
Traders note an unwillingness by sellers to bear losses and, when able, are preferring to sell iron ore products, demand for which remains good in China, with prices also being high. A similar trend is being seen in CIS slab exports. This is due either to upgrades or is being dictated by economic viability.