Slab import prices are expected to come down in tandem with falling hot rolled coil in East Asia, Kallanish notes.
Last week, an Indonesian re-roller ordered 40,000 tonnes of coil-making slab from Russia at $439.50/tonne cfr, trading sources in Singapore and Hong Kong report. Regional traders heard the Indonesian buyer settled on only one cargo despite planning to buy two 40,000t cargoes.
The price awarded to the supplier was deemed high as trading sources expect slab import prices to falter on the current slide in the regional HRC market. The East Asian steel market has been hard hit by uncertainty surrounding the economic impact of the coronavirus outbreak.
“Re-rollers could be aiming to book slab at $400-410/t cfr, but it is very unclear where HRC prices would settle at,” a Taiwanese trader says. He adds that current HRC offers are in a wide range of $500-550/t cfr East Asia. Certain traders have been letting go of HRC position cargoes this week at around $500/t cfr Vietnam levels, down $15-20/t from before the Lunar New Year.
Iranian slab is currently offered at $405/t cif Thailand, down from $420/t cif Thailand in mid-January. However, no bookings have taken place, a Thai trader says. In the current uncertain situation, Thai buyers for steel including slab say they do not know whether to buy or wait and see what happens next, he adds.