CIS billet producers have begun offering January production, with the offers reflecting a recent increase in scrap prices of around $ 25 per tonne per week.
The Ukrainian mill lists $ 450 per ton on the Black Sea market for products to be shipped at the end of January /February, while the Russian coastal producer lists $ 460 per ton for January billet.
There were no sales from the Black Sea ports this week, but demand remains strong and is likely to remain so as the rise in scrap prices has not been completed. Currently, offers for scrap in Turkey are around $ 330 per tonne and some sources do not rule out that premium HMS 1/2 80:20 prices will reach $ 350 per tonne in the upcoming sales round.
Sources note that Turkey will definitely be in the billet market, as long products order books are well filled for the first quarter, especially wire rod. Turkey’s wire rod export offers this week reached $ 580-600 per ton fob for production in late February and March, with what appears to be “… insatiable demand” in Europe. Sources note that while EU buyers insist on booking the volumes produced in January, they are no longer there.
Traders say Turkish billet prices start at $ 450 per tonne cfr after the Turkish mill sold the billet domestically at $ 470 a tonne ex-factory on Monday amid rising scrap prices. Sources say that supplies to the CIS countries are limited to small businesses and traders, as large suppliers are concentrated in Asia and the Middle East. They add that the Indian billet offer is $ 480 per ton of key fob and is targeted primarily at China with shorter delivery times than CIS countries.
China has booked several lots from Russian Far Eastern producers at $ 480-482 per tonne over the past two weeks and is still looking for additional tonnage, according to traders. Sources say that with continued strengthening of iron ore reserves and moderate inventories of finished goods despite imports, demand is currently well supported.
Most sources expect the January casting volumes to be sold at prices close to the bid prices, but a correction is expected, albeit a purely technical one. Some observers point to continued weakness in the global economy and a lack of new infrastructure spending, but scrap prices – the main barometer for Black Sea billet prices – are not yet to be adjusted.
Due to seasonal shortages and shortages caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, scrap prices are unlikely to fall in the winter, which will help maintain billet prices.