Over the past week, activity on the slab export market to the CIS increased, and was fully fueled by China. While Turkey and Italy still need to buy slabs, growing activity and subsequent price increases in China leave little chance of purchasing material released before August.
Last week, a Ukrainian slab entered China, followed by at least 50,000 tons of Russian material. Both suppliers have reserved material for download in August.
Chinese demand did not stop at slabs from the CIS countries, as Brazilian, Mexican and Indian goods were also reserved at about the same prices. Demand from China is expected to continue, possibly paving the way for more Russian orders. This is especially true for the Baltic Shipping Plant, whose shipments to China are about USD 10 /t lower than in the former Black Sea region. As traders note, new slab deals are possible in the volatile and weak hot rolled steel market.