Asian hot-rolled coil prices fell on May 17 as bearishness continued to weigh on regional offer levels, while the COVID-19 situation eases in Shanghai, lifting Chinese domestic prices.
S&P Global Commodity Insights Platts assessed SAE1006 HRC at $798/mt FOB China, down $15/mt from May 13. On a CFR Southeast Asia basis, the same grade of coil was assessed at $780/mt, down $13/mt over the same period.
In Vietnam, regional offer levels were lowered. An offer for 50% 2 mm Chinese-origin coils was heard at $785/mt CFR Vietnam for June to July shipment from traders. Market participants also saw prices for Indian-origin coils weakening. Indian mills returned to Vietnam after a three-month absence, according to an Indian mill source. Some sources saw tradable values for Indian 30% 2 mm coils at $850/mt CFR Vietnam.
“Since last week [Chinese] SAE1006 prices have fallen maybe $30-$40/mt in Vietnam, even Indian coils that offered so high at $920-$950/mt [CFR Vietnam] this week lowered $70/mt,” said a Vietnam-based buyer.
“JSW didn't tell us exactly what price they want, but they will not be as low as $790/mt FOB [India]," said a Shanghai-based trader.
Japanese mills were also heard facing difficulty finding import interest amid continued weak demand.
"[Nippon Steel Corp.] gave up on June [shipment] so are preparing July shipment now," said a Japanese trader on the Japanese mill’s attempt to book.
Regional market participants continued to wait for local Vietnamese mill Formosa Ha Tinh and Hoa Phat offers, "The market is very bad ... the workable price should be $820-$830/mt CFR," said a Vietnam mill source.
Separately, SS400 HRC 3 mm thick was assessed at $760/mt FOB China, unchanged from May 13. On a CFR Southeast Asia basis, the same grade of coil was assessed down $4/mt over the same period at $748/mt.
The market sentiment was supported by news of a bettering COVID-19 situation in Shanghai, with plans to gradually reduce lockdown restrictions and eventually return to “normal operations by end June,” according to several sources.
“We had plans to adjust lower our export prices, but since yesterday when prices started growing stronger, we are a bit more hesitant to lower prices now,” said a northern China mill source.
In Shanghai, the spot price of Q235 5.5 mm HRC was assessed at Yuan 4,830/mt ($711.82/mt) ex-stock, including value added tax, up Yuan 40/mt from May 13. On the Shanghai Futures Exchange, the most actively traded October contract closed at Yuan 4,770/mt, up Yuan 39/mt, or 0.8%, over the same period.