Vietnam’s iron and steel exports in March increased to 1.106mn mt, up by 74pc from February and up by 32pc from a year ago, while imports increased to 1.43mn mt, up by 40pc from February and up 8pc from a year ago driven by steady steel demand in Asian countries.
Robust steel demand in China boosted higher exports of billets and other semi-finished products from Vietnam and also leading to an increase in production by major domestic steelmakers. In March, China was the top destination for Vietnamese exporters with iron and steel exports to China nearly tripling from a year ago. Exports were up by 192pc at 270,790mt from the prior March and up by 177pc from February. Higher steel prices in China’s domestic market and shorter transit also allowed importers of steel to gain arbitrage opportunity.
Exports to neighbouring Cambodia increased to 150,233mt in March, up by 14pc from a year ago and up to 68pc from February, while exports to Indonesia and Philippines were 81,546mt and 76,957mt, respectively.
Billet prices from Asian suppliers have increased by $25-30 in a month as domestic billet prices in China rose to a 12.5 year high amid production cuts. A recent deal for billets concluded at $660/mt cfr China.
Higher billet price and opportunities in the export market boosted Vietnam’s ferrous scrap imports in March. Vietnam’s scrap imports increased to 649,328mt in March, which is more than double of February’s imports.
A pick up in the manufacturing sector, especially automobiles, spurred higher steel imports by Vietnamese companies. China was the leading iron and steel exporters to Vietnam in March. Imports from China rose to 795,529mt, up by 53pc from a year ago and 37pc from February, followed by Japan, Korea, Taiwan and India. Imports from Russia also increased significantly to 71,943mt compared to February.
|Vietnam’s iron and steel imports in March|
|Unit: mt||Mar-21||Feb-21||Change MoM||Mar-20||Change YoY|
In April, HRC offers to Vietnam spiked in line with higher HRC prices in the international market. Last week, a deal for Indian HRC was heard at $920-930 cfr Vietnam with offers expected to rise further.