Indian semi-finished products are now the most competitive in Southeast Asia, Kallanish understands. Since appearing in the region in recent weeks, Indian semis have displaced Russian material as the lowest-priced import source.
Indian coil-making slab was offered at around $435/tonne cfr Indonesia, compared to slab from Russia at $440-445/t cfr, Indonesian trading sources report. An Indonesian re-roller ordered last week a 40,000t cargo, for September/October shipment, from India at around $430/t cfr. “Indian suppliers are so aggressive for slab and billet in the last two weeks,” a Jakarta-based trader says.
Indian billet prices have also undercut Russian billet in the Philippines. Offers for Indian blast furnace billet are prevailing at $435/t cfr Manila, down from $445/t a week ago. Russian material is currently offered at $440/t cfr, down from last week's transacted $447/t cfr Manila.
Buyers in the Philippines have not been active, however. “Most are resisting,” a Manila trader says. They prefer to wait and see for the next week or so because of the recent sharp price drops, a Manila buyer observes. He warns of tough times for the industry. "Most steel mills in the entire value chain are losing money due to inventory losses in a declining market," he notes.
On Friday, Kallanish lowered its weekly 5sp/ps or Q275120/125/130mm square billet price to $435/t cfr Manila, down $10 on week.
Billet offers to Thailand and Indonesia are prevailing at $430-435/t cfr, traders say. A Thai trader heard a deal for wire rod-making billet from Malaysia concluded at $445/t cfr Thailand recently. But he is doubtful, saying that “…it is hard to believe that any Thai will pay this.” Buyers are giving bids for either rebar/wire rod billet at only $420/t cfr, he adds. "People are not ready to give bids actually," says an Indian trader on the lack of the transpired deals.