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Home > MEPS Steel News - 02.05.2014

ASIAN BILLET MARKET ROUNDUP FROM MEPS

Challenging trading conditions persist in China. Price growth returned to the billet and slab segments. However, market jitters remain evident. Local steel traders have expressed concerns that the steel-consuming sectors are starting to lose momentum. The China Metallurgical Industry Planning and Research Institute has forecast that domestic steel consumption will slow to 3.0 percent this year, half the rate achieved in 2013. Local brokers report that Australian seaborne iron ore fines in week 16 (with an iron content of 62.5 percent), were traded, on average, at US$116.00 per tonne CFR an increase of 4.0 percent compared with the March settlement figure. However, prices began to trend downwards in week 17.

The business environment remains challenging in South Korea. The building sector remains subdued. Domestic billet selling figures, in national currency terms, are down 2.5 percent compared to the corresponding period last year. Billet exporters have fared no better. Buying appetite amongst Asian re-rollers remains limited. The price differential between domestic and imported billet material has widened to US$24 per tonne.

Purchasing volumes of finished steel products in Taiwan are predicted to be stable, at best, in May. Brokers are forecasting that steel production may fall ahead of the summer months, citing weak end-user demand and electricity rationing. The premium for foreign cast billet relative to domestic material has narrowed to US$15 per tonne (previously US$25 per tonne).


Source: MEPS - Semi-Finished Steel Review

Also see: MEPS - Billet Price Table

 

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