Chinese steelmaker Baosteel has hiked prices for finished flat steel’s February deliveries by CNY300-700/mt ($54-108/mt) against the January delivery prices. The steelmaker has attributed this hike to strong demand from domestic and global auto industry, and bullish iron ore import prices. Despite this, there is a gap between Chinese hot-rolled coil (HRC) prices and those from the US and Europe, indicating room for prices to rise further.
For February deliveries, the blast furnace-maker raised domestic ex-factory prices for HRC and cold-rolled coil (CRC) products by CNY350/mt and CNY400/mt, respectively. Heavy plate prices rose by CNY300/mt and hot-dipped galvanized steel by CNY700/mt ($106/mt). Non-oriented (NO) electrical flat steel prices jumped by CNY1,500/mt ($227/mt) against January prices.
In the last two months, HRC and CRC prices in China rose by CNY750/mt and CNY800/mt, respectively.
In the domestic market, HRC prices were reported at CNY4,650-4,750/mt ex-works eastern China. HRC export offers were in the range $680-710/mt fob China, however, the industry awaits more trades to materialize as traders’ market remains cautious ahead of Chinese New Year holidays in early-February.
Chinese steel prices were range-bound as construction activities slowed due to winter. On Thursday, Q235 150mm square billets prices in China rose CNY10/mt to CNY3,790/mt ex-works Tangshan, including the 13pc VAT.
Iron ore prices rebound
On January 7, the spot price for imports of benchmark Fe 62pc content Iron ore was at $170/mt cfr Qingdao after business resumed post New Year holidays. Despite cold weather and easing of supply pressure, prices remained bullish.
Baosteel remains upbeat about downstream industry demand in the first quarter 2021. Baosteel’s HRC prices set the benchmark for Asian HRC producers like POSCO and Hyundai in South Korea, Formosa steel in Vietnam, and JSW and Tata Steel in India.
($1= CNY 6.4)