Southeast Asian billet prices shoot up

Posted on 12 April 2021

Billet suppliers have hiked offers in Southeast Asia in tandem with buoyant Chinese import buying, Kallanish notes. However, the region’s buyers are slow to follow the uptrend because domestic long steel markets are lagging behind.

In the Philippines, offer prices have risen by $25/tonne or more from the last heard transaction on 31 March for Russian 130mm square billet at $625/t cfr Manila. An offer for 24,000 tonnes of Russian 125mm 5sp billet is heard at $650/t cfr Manila. The cargo is due for end-May/mid-June shipment. Also heard in the market is an offer for 20,000t of Indian-origin 125mm 5sp billet for May shipment at $660/t cfr.

Offers have gone up because suppliers are tracking Chinese billet prices, a trader says. He heard Indonesian blast furnace billet offered at $670/t cfr Manila early last week but was unsure if the offer was still valid on Friday.

Chinese import buying has recently reached transaction peaks of $660/t cfr for ASEAN 150mm 3sp billet. ASEAN billet enjoys a 2% import duty waiver. A Manila buyer says he has not received the latest offers himself but was not surprised by a run-up in offers given that Chinese buying is taking place at such high levels. “But this does not mean that everyone else will accept it," he adds.

New offers for billet from Indonesia and Vietnam are prevailing at $670/t cfr China, Chinese trading sources say. Chinese importers are also buying billet from elsewhere, including India and Russia. These would be priced $10-12/t lower, a Chinese trader says. Kallanish notes that the Chinese market tends to buy 150mm-sized billet, which is less popular in the Philippines.

On 9 April, Kallanish raised its 5sp/ps or Q275 120/125/130mm square billet assessment to $640-645/t cfr Manila, $17.5/t higher on-week.

Source : Kallanish