The weekly Davis Index for basic pig iron (BPI) increased $1/gt on Thursday from $363/mt cfr New Orleans to $364/mt cfr Nola amid weakening demand. Markets were quiet on Thursday as participants contend with uncertainties regarding the business outlook and global economy due to the COVID-19 virus.
BPI offers originating from CIS and Brazil this week were at $365-375/mt cfr Nola, with no confirmed activity at those levels. The price surge in the week of March 6 was attributed to increased demand with only a few offers to sell material. A CIS-origin cargo of BPI sold to the US last week at $363/mt cfr Nola.
CIS-origin cargos of BPI were sold to the US at $347-350/mt cfr Nola prior to last week. BPI offers and transactions have remained at or below $350/mt cfr Nola for several months, making last week’s transaction a large increase, comparatively.
The large global merchant supplier of pig iron, Tulachermet, plans to stop operations of its Blast Furnace No. 3, for full repairs at the end of March. BPI supply and prices will foreseeably be affected by the stoppage.
The weekly index for nodular pig iron (NPI) imports was flat at $418/mt cfr Nola, with no new sales on Thursday. The last offers heard declined to $405-430/mt cfr Nola from $430-440/mt cfr Nola, with no confirmed bids at that level.
The weekly Davis Index for US hot briquetted iron (HBI) imports remained unchanged at $254/mt cfr New Orleans. No HBI import deals to North America were reported this week. However, the material is moving to other locations.
Domestic ferrous scrap traders expected price increases of $10-20/gt last week. However, declines in export prices and demand dampened market sentiment mid-trade with prices ultimately settling at flat to $10/gt increases for some prime grades.
The shortage in container availability also impacted domestic market weakness as exporters that usually rely on containerized sales shifted tonnage to the domestic market that already had considerable amounts of material to offer.