There is a lull in the export market of commodity slabs in the CIS, sales did not end last week. Both buyers and sellers have withdrawn from the market due to price adjustments for iron ore and hot rolled coil in China. Activity is expected to resume no earlier than the second week of October due to the long Chinese holidays.
According to traders, activity in the Asian market will also resume after the hiatus, possibly rising at the same price level at which it remained – around $ 470-475 per tonne francs. China’s current investment will continue to support demand, multiple sources say, suggesting that HRC prices have bottomed out and are likely to rise after the holidays, supporting slab prices.
One Russian supplier, located closer to and departing from the ports of the Far East, has already been sold out of the November casting material. It is expected to start offering casting books in December by mid-October, when China returns after the Golden Week holidays. The other two vendors are also expected to be sold out of the casting books for November and are not expected to hit the market this week.
However, Turkey may need more volumes before the casting books are offered in December, as one plant had problems casting slabs and had already ordered two batches of slabs from the CIS a week earlier. According to local sources, depending on the sales of finished products, the mill may need more slabs. They cite $ 470 a ton in Turkey as a working level at the beginning of last week, while prices for Chinese futures and HRC were still falling. “If there was $ 470 per tonne CFR available at the start of the week, it is no longer there,” the seller said Friday.
The market needs to digest the gains of the past six weeks, sources said, and Golden Week offers the pause needed.
Meanwhile, the initiation of an anti-dumping investigation into the import of slabs from Russia and Brazil to Mexico is not perceived as a disruptive factor for the slab trade in the CIS. Mexico as a whole has a slab shortage and imports them from Brazil, where the importing plant has a slab casting line, as well as from Russia and Ukraine.
A Mexican slab buyer can only purchase the slab from ArcelorMittal Mexico, the applicant of the investigation. “Aside from giving more control over my domestic slab buyer, it’s hard for me to see what else this duty could achieve if it were applied,” says an experienced trader.