Pakistani ferrous scrap importers continued to keep their bids low as mills were unable to materialise finished steel deals at profitable margins. Finished steel prices, especially rebar, remained stable to down on weak sales.
Domestic steel prices dropped by PKR500-1,000/mt on Wednesday. Mills were in no hurry to book materials as many have amid ample inventories to suffice limited steel demand during Ramadan that would start mid-April. Prices have hit a-month low and may drop further if buying remains suspended, believe market participants.
The daily Davis Index for containerized shredded, Wednesday, settled at $425.71/mt cfr Port Qasim nearly unchanged from a day earlier. Major steelmakers refused to place any bids against expectations of $430-435/mt cfr Qasim but a few buyers booked thin volumes of shredded in the range from European and UK suppliers.
Buying ferrous scrap above $400-405/mt cfr Qasim when rebar prices are below PKR130,000/mt ($836/mt) ex-works results in a margin squeeze, which all steelmakers are avoiding. With drop-in Turkish prices, mills anticipate prices to fall further while sellers believe that the market is near the bottom and should rise in the coming days.
In Turkey, the index for HMS 1&2 (80:20), Tuesday, fell by $0.33/mt to $430.83/mt cfr with a few small bulks negotiated at around $400/mt cfr Turkey levels. Amid sluggish sales, rebar in the export market was offered at $625-630/mt fob.
The daily index for US-origin HMS 1&2 (80:20), Wednesday, settled at $415.5/mt cfr Port Qasim, down $0.21/mt. Pakistani mills targeted $400-405/mt cfr Port Qasim levels for HMS 1&2 (80:20) from Australia, UK, and the US in sync with Indian buyers’ expectations.
Trades for #1 HMS and P&S from UAE dropped in the range of $410-415/mt cfr Port Qasim despite expectations of above $425/mt cfr Qasim. The daily Davis Index for UAE-origin HMS 1&2 (80:20) settled at $403/mt cfr Port Qasim, stable from a day prior.
Billet prices drop PKR1,000-1,500/mt
On Wednesday, Bala billet prices dropped to PKR104,000-104,500/mt ex-works, down PKR1,000/mt from a day prior. Trading was thin as construction demand has been slower than expected. Falling ferrous scrap prices globally has dented domestic sentiment. Downstream industries await a drop in steel prices to resume trade.
Trades for G-60 billets heard in the range PKR110,000-110,500/mt ex-works, down PKR2,500/mt from Friday in Punjab. Asking rates for rebar dropped amid the increasing availability of discounted rebar in the market. In Karachi, rebar offers were at PKR134,000-135,000/mt ex-works while trades heard at PKR129,000-130,000/mt ex-works Punjab.
Domestic ferrous scrap drops
On Wednesday, offers for Art Q scrap equivalent to a mix of HMS and P&S were at PKR84,800-85,200/mt ex-yard Lahore in line with a decline in imported scrap offers. Pure Q toke scrap equivalent to shredded traded down by PKR1,000/mt to PKR86,500-86,700/mt ex-yard Lahore. Falling plate prices indicate there is room for a further drop, said Gadani-based recyclers.