Southeast Asian slab market languishes after reaching highs

Posted on 27 January 2021

The slab import market in East Asia has gone quiet after prices reached peaks earlier this month, Kallanish notes. Traders say they have not heard of fresh offers to the region.

Suppliers would prefer to export to better-paying markets elsewhere, some say. Importing interest is also dampened now with the downward price correction for hot rolled coil.

In early January, deals for slab took place in Indonesia at $670-680/tonne cfr. A leading re-roller in Indonesia ordered 40,000 tonnes of Russian slab at $678/t cfr, as well as slab from Malaysia and Vietnam at $645-650/t cfr, a regional trader reports. Some other offers at that time exceeded $700/t cfr, he adds.

Prices to Southeast Asia reached $670-690/t cfr, another trader reports. But the trader has not heard of any deals taking place in the past 10-14 days. Another concurs that offers for Russian slab peaked at $690/t cfr Indonesia in mid-January after a deal for 40,000t of March-shipment Russian slab at around $660-670/t cfr Indonesia in early January. He says the Malaysian slab order was small.

Suppliers are still aiming to export Chinese slab at $670/t fob, a Thai trader reports. He says Iranian slab is still offered at around $630-640/t fob.

In Taiwan, re-rolling slab was priced at $685/t cfr two weeks ago, a South Korean trader reports. He says there are no recent deals in South Korea, adding that re-rollers prefer to talk about the current slump in the HRC market.

Bookings are taking place at $690-695/t cfr South Korea for SAE 1006 HRC from Tier 1 Chinese mills, down from $720-730/t cfr previously. Boron-added HRC from Tier II mills is also priced lower now, at $670/t cfr South Korea.

Meanwhile, bids are being invited for several position cargoes of Chinese-origin SAE 1006 HRC, at $655/t cfr Vietnam, Chinese traders report. Last Friday, such offers, which are for February/March shipment were heard at $670-680/t cfr Vietnam. Despite the lower price tag, a trader hears that buyers want to pay only $640/t cfr Vietnam. Most regional re-rollers cannot afford to pay high slab prices, of say $650/t cfr, because Chinese HRC is cheaper, traders note.

Source : Kallanish