The billet import market in Southeast Asia has dipped slightly from the week before, Kallanish notes. Buyers are seeking lower import prices because of softening scrap. However, offers to the region are limited.
In the Philippines, offers of Black Sea billet are as low as $445/tonne cfr Manila and high-carbon and manganese billet from Brazil are at $450/t cfr. A 24,000-tonne cargo of Russian 125mm square billet was offered at a surprisingly low level of $443/t cfr on Thursday, market sources report. An importer believes that it was taken up on the same day. A non-regular supplier is offering 5,000t of Black Sea EAF billet at $443/t cfr but most other offers are still at $450/t cfr and above, he says.
Regional mills in SE Asia are offering billet at firm prices, a regional trader says. Vietnamese mills are aiming to export blast furnace billet at around $430/t fob.
Scrap prices have weakened, albeit gradually, and cannot match buyers’ desired prices, he says. Buyers are aiming as low as $430-435/t cfr Thailand. However, if rerollers need inventory, they will pay market levels, he adds. A Malaysian EAF billet deal closed at the peak of $451-452/t cfr Manila the previous week.
Cargoes of 150mm Russian billet closed at $447/t cfr Thailand around mid-week, some traders report. Also, 10,000t of Indian 150mm square 5sp billet was recently fixed at $445/t cfr, traders report. A 20,000t cargo of Vietnamese blast furnace billet for March shipment was heard to have been booked at around $447/t cif Thailand.
However, some Thai traders say that these transacted import prices sound too high as domestic billet is more competitively-priced. The Vietnamese billet cargo’s price was high because it included financing costs, a Bangkok trader says. He guesses that the financing is for 90-days. Domestic suppliers are seeking to sell induction and EAF billet at import parity levels of around $430/t and $460/t respectively. When comparing with imports, the domestic induction billet price is used as a reference point in Thailand.
On Friday, Kallanish lowered its 5sp/ps or Q275 120/125/130mm square billet assessment at $443-448/t cfr Manila, down $2 on week.