The mood in the Philippine billet import market remains generally firm on Friday, Kallanish notes. Offers for imports are either holding or slightly higher from the week before. However, a higher-priced deal and a lower-priced offer has generated some debate in the market.
A booking for 10,000 tonnes of 130mm square blast furnace billet from Malaysia at $451-452/t cfr Manila last Thursday drew interest because it concluded higher than previous deals at around $445/t cfr Manila.
An importer said he did not understand why the booking took place since offers for billet from Russia and Qatar are available at $450/t cfr Manila. “Is it the chemistry or the shipment date,” he asks. Kallanish was not able to confirm whether the cargo was for February or March shipment.
“It is a small order so it could be one-off and not necessarily a benchmark,” a trader says. He was seeing all offers at above $450/t cfr. A regional trader says that the deal took place because of limited offers in the market.
Conversely, an offer for Malaysian EAF billet at $442-443/t cfr Manila was greeted with mixed views. “That’s cheap, but it doesn’t make sense,” a trader says. “I believe that $450/t cfr is already too high,” another says. He thinks that other exporters may lower prices soon. A buyer says that he is unsure how serious the offer is.
On Friday, Kallanish raised its 5sp/ps or Q275 120/125/130mm square billet assessment at $445-450/t cfr Manila, up $5 on week.
Meanwhile, Vietnam’s Formosa Ha Tinh hiked its domestic billet prices for February/March shipments on Friday. The hike equivalent to $8/t would raise its prices to $428/t cif Haiphong and to $433/t cif Ho Chi Minh.
This could spark an increase in Vietnamese export billet prices, a Vietnamese trader says. During the week, an offer for 10,000t of billet from Vietnam for March delivery was floating at $450/t cfr Manila. As the offer has multiple loading ports and no particular mill mentioned, the supplier is “… fishing for bids to present to prospective mills in Vietnam,” a Manila trader says.