With more states in India announcing lockdown-like measures to curb the rising tally of COVID-19, demand for imported scrap remains tepid. Although state governments have enlisted manufacturing as an essential activity, logistical and operational difficulties have forced many businesses to curtail operations. Private construction projects also remain stalled, weighing down on steel demand.
In the coming days, labour shortage could also slow government infrastructure projects.
Mills are wary of purchasing ferrous scrap from overseas as the Indian Rupee has depreciated to Rs75.13 against $1 from Rs74.54 on April 16. Importers thus resisted offers of over $455-460/mt cfr Nhava Sheva for EU/UK-origin shredded. The Davis Index for containerized shredded Tuesday settled at $458.75/mt cfr Nhava Sheva, down by $1.25/mt from Monday.
Most steelmakers preferred to purchase limited volumes of HMS from short transit destinations like UAE, Africa, and Latin America. The daily Davis Index for UAE-origin HMS 1&2 (80:20) was at $430/cfr Nhava Sheva, down $5/mt. Offers for Dubai-origin HMS #1 were at $435-440/mt cfr Nhava Sheva, down $5/mt from a day ago. Yards have started to cut working hours because of the ongoing Ramadan month.
Mills are now eyeing $420-425/mt cfr Nhava Sheva levels for HMS 1&2 (80:20) amid domestic scrap prices declining by Rs1,500/mt from Friday to Rs31,000/mt del Mumbai mill.
The index for US-origin HMS 1&2 (80:20) Tuesday settled at $431.25/mt cfr Nhava Sheva, down by $1.25/mt from Friday. Offers remained unchanged at $435-450/mt cfr Nhava Sheva on firm bids by other Asian buyers. Indian buyers were interested in $420-425/mt cfr Nhava Sheva levels.
On Tuesday, melting scrap offers in Alang reversed last week’s gain of Rs1,000/mt ex-yards. Many yards have been forced to shut operations on oxygen shortage. In the coming days, there is a possibility recycling activity at Alang coming to a standstill. Even after the decline, asking prices were at par with those for imported HMS 1&2 (80:20) at $430-435/mt cfr Nhava Sheva leading to a decreased demand.
In Mumbai, one of the major scrap consumer markets, rebar prices dropped by Rs1,000/mt from Monday. Rebar traded at Rs50,300/mt ex-works Mumbai on Tuesday with scrap prices falling by a similar amount.
Major steelmakers, including Tata Steel, JSW, AM/NS, JSPL, and Sail, have diverted their oxygen supply for emergency medical use. Mills are eyeing export opportunities due to a lack of domestic demand. HRC makers kept their asking rates above $1,000/mt cfr Asia. JSW Steel has announced a third price hike in April, taking the total rise in HRC prices to over Rs10,000/mt from last month in the domestic market.
In China, iron ore futures surpassed CNY1,200/mt. In the domestic market, billet traded at CNY4,940/mt ex Tangshan, unchanged from a day ago.
The daily Davis Index for containerized shredded Tuesday settled at $453.65/mt cfr Indian subcontinent, down by $1.41/mt from; while that for containerized US-origin HMS 1&2 (80:20) was at $429.50/mt cfr Indian subcontinent, down by $0.69/mt from Monday.
Weekly containerized freight rates maintained by Davis Index were unchanged at $54.61/mt, $65.09/mt, and $81.83/mt from New York port to India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh, respectively.