Economy, Business And Markets

Iran’s Billet Prices Gain From Chinese Uptrend

Iran’s Billet Prices Gain From Chinese UptrendIran’s Billet Prices Gain From Chinese Uptrend

Iranian semis exporters have benefited from the surge in Chinese billet prices, seen over the past three weeks.

Suppliers have managed to sign export contracts at higher levels, but the price increase from Iran’s side was limited, especially in the Middle East, restrained by only minor changes in offers from the Commonwealth of Independent States.

At the same time, the sharp upturn in Chinese steel prices has triggered demand for Iranian semis in the Far East, Metal Expert reported.

Prices for Chinese billet have gained about $40/ton in the Middle East over the period under review, reaching $450‑460/ton CFR by the middle of the month.

Under the circumstances, buyers have become interested in purchases from Iran. However, Iran’s billet sellers were able to increase prices to only a certain extent, given competitive offers from the CIS ($420‑425/ton CFR Persian Gulf). In the first half of December, Iran’s Khouzestan Steel Company closed two deals in the UAE (20,000 tons and 30,000 tons for January shipment) at $405‑410/ton FOB–$5‑10/ton up from end-November sales. Same range is still available from KSC under the ongoing tender.

“We still have about 20,000 tons for export,” says a company’s source.

While the situation in the longs segment remains challenging, UAE buyers hold off on signing new contracts with KSC.

“Re-rollers cannot accept the current spread between billet and finished steel prices. For example, Turkish suppliers offer rebar to the UAE at $440/ton CFR Jebel Ali, while KSC’s billet is available $20/ton cheaper,” says a trader.

The company plans to open next tender in about two weeks, but does not make any forecast regarding further price trend.

In the Far East, buyers have also expressed interest in Iranian products on competitive offers, given more expensive billet prices coming from China. Under the recent tender, Iran’s Kish South Kaveh Steel sold 20,000 tons of December billet to Thailand at $400/ton FOB last week, a company representative said. The previous tender closed at $390/ton FOB in mid-November.

In addition, offers of around 20,000 tons of billet from Iran through trader are heard in the Philippines at $415‑425/ton CFR, which generally corresponds to $390‑400/ton FOB.

Esfahan Steel Company opened its billet tender on December 10. The company’s price idea is close to $395/ton FOB, market players say, but no deals have been reported yet.

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