Chinese billet import market takes breather

Posted on 15 September 2021

Chinese buying interest for billet has diminished suddenly following the downward correction in the Chinese domestic market, Kallanish notes.

The Chinese billet import market rose for two weeks, reaching transaction levels for 150mm 3sp billet at $710-715/tonne cfr China last weekend. These included deals for Vietnamese billet at $710/t cfr and Indonesian blast furnace billet at $710-715/t cfr. Around 160,000 tonnes of billet from the Middle East also recently concluded at around this level to China (see Kallanish passim).

A leading Vietnamese mill was able to conclude blast furnace billet at $675/t fob, Vietnamese trading sources say. Freight is around $35/t from Vietnam to China, depending on destination port. The previous booking prices for Vietnamese billet were concluded at $670/t fob Vietnam, but bid prices are now at $650/t fob, a Vietnamese mill source says. “Current offers for November shipments are still at $680/t fob. The price drop is too sudden,” he notes.

A regional trader relates hearing bids at $705-710/t cfr China early Tuesday, but those bids were “no more” when the market became quiet in the afternoon. “It is very quiet today,” a regional trader said on Tuesday. Bids for billet are at only $690/t cfr but the supplying mills are looking to sell at $720/t cfr. “The gap is too big,” he adds.

In China's Tangshan, spot billet fell on Tuesday by CNY 30/t ($5/t) to CNY 5,220/t. This is the first price fall since 2 September. Prices have gained by CNY 100/t in the past week and by $200/t since 2 September.

Source : Kallanish