Trades in the Indian imported ferrous scrap market slowed on Thursday. Domestic steel prices in the last couple of days have lost steam falling by over Rs800-1,200/mt keeping some mills away from trades. Scrap prices were still firm due to a material shortage in the global market. Some traders believe, rebar demand is likely to pick up and bring mills back in the market since most have limited inventories in hand.
The Davis Index for containerized shredded, Thursday, settled at $480.38/mt cfr Nhava Sheva, up by $9.75/mt from Wednesday. Offers on Thursday were at $480-490/mt cfr Nhava Sheva since these levels found acceptance in Pakistan. But Indian buyers lagged at $475-478/mt cfr India on Thursday. A recovery in rebar demand could lead to a rise of $15-20/mt in ferrous scrap prices for January shipments in the coming days, believe most traders. The gap between HMS and shredded scrap has widened to over $35-40/mt on a shortage of high grades from the usual $15-20/mt levels.
Trades for Australia-origin HMS 1&2 (80:20) were reported at $440/mt cfr Nhava Sheva for immediate shipments. While offers for February deliveries were above $450-455/mt cfr Nhava Sheva from Latin America and the UK.
India remains the preferred market for Dubai-based HMS suppliers, but trades remain slow. Mills bid $15-20/mt lower than suppliers’ expectations. In the absence of fresh offers, the Davis Index for UAE-origin HMS 1&2 (80:20), Thursday settled at $440/mt cfr Nhava Sheva, unchanged from Wednesday. Indian mills have accepted levels of only up to $430-440/mt cfr Nhava Sheva for Dubai-origin HMS despite asking prices of $445-450/mt cfr.
The Davis Index for US-origin HMS 1&2 (80:20) settled at $445/mt cfr Nhava Sheva, up by $2.5/mt from Wednesday. US suppliers lifted offers which made Indian mills look for material from other countries. Most buyers are unwilling to pay over $425-435/mt cfr Nhava Sheva levels. Suppliers, on the other hand, were unwilling to trade at these bids as they believe mills are likely to cave in and raise their bids for restocking in the next few days.
In India’s Mandi Gobindgarh market, ingot trades were impacted by cold weather and prices were in the range of Rs40,800-41,300/mt ex-works this week. HMS 1&2 (80:20) prices were at Rs30,000/mt ($411/mt) delivered Mumbai mill, flat since Monday. In the central Indian market, rebar prices are likely to rise by Rs1,000/mt to reach Rs44,000/mt ex-works Raipur.
Chinese steel prices were rangebound as construction activities slowed due to cold weather. On Thursday, Q235 150mm square billets prices in China rose CNY10/mt to CNY3,790/mt ex-works Tangshan, including the 13pc VAT. HRC prices in China could gain as Baosteel has announced a hike of CNY350/mt for February shipments.
In the billet market, Indian mills targetted $580-585/mt fob India prices. Iranian billet makers have raised their offers to $570-575/mt fob Iran, unfazed by the US government imposing sanctions on Iranian mills.
The Davis Index for containerized shredded, Thursday, settled at $483.76/mt cfr India subcontinent, up by $11.89/mt from Wednesday. The index for containerized US-origin HMS 1&2 (80:20) settled at $449.51/mt cfr India subcontinent, up by $3.06/mt. Most suppliers resumed negotiations, but US recyclers preferred to focus on the domestic market where prices are rising while held onto material as they wait for prices to rise in the coming days.