China’s Jiangsu Shagang Group has raised its long finished steel prices by CNY100-150/mt ($15-23/mt) and hot-rolled coil (HRC) prices by CNY50/mt for early-March. Despite a build-up of finished steel inventories at Chinese mills, prices are expected to rise with increase in consumption while production could be below usual due to unsupportive weather.
Shagang Steel raised rebar (HRB400,16-25 mm) prices for early-March deliveries to CNY4,850/mt ($749/mt) ex-works, up by CNY150/mt in the spot market. Offers for wire rod (HPB300, 8mm) increased by CNY100/mt to CNY4,960/mt ($766/mt) ex-works. These prices are inclusive of 13pc VAT.
|Shagang Steel’s retail prices for early-March|
|Products||Grade||CNY/mt||Change from late-Feb|
|Rebar wire rod||HRB400||5100||100|
After being stable since early-January, HRC prices have been increased. Prices were lower than market levels after the Lunar New Year holidays, yet the company had decided to keep prices stable for February-end shipments due to high inventories. For March, it was likely to move up to come in line with market levels.
In the domestic market, prices for Q235 150mm square billet were at CNY4,260/mt ex-Tangshan on Monday including VAT, down CNY30/mt. A sharp rise in Iranian billet offers kept the Asian billet market afloat. Billet traded above $595-600/mt cfr Southeast Asia. In spite of that, a pause in the Chinese steel price rally has made price direction unclear.
Post-holidays, weather in China has remained unsupportive for construction activities. The government also announced pollution control measures. In the spot market, iron ore fines Australian (Fe 62pc) traded at $174.3/mt cfr China on Monday, down $2.3/mt from a day prior. HRC export prices were at $720-730/mt fob China, up $20-30/mt from late-February.
Following Shagang Steel’s lead, Zenith Steel also rose rebar and wire rod prices by CNY100/mt each to CNY4,800/mt and CNY4,950/mt ex-works, respectively. Another major rebar maker, Yong Steel, hiked prices by CNY100/mt on high raw materials costs.
Domestic scrap up CNY100/mt on demand
The steelmaker’s bids for HMS were at CNY3,300-3,350/mt del Zhangjiagang city, Jiangsu province, including 13pc VAT depending on thickness. Most yards in China have started to resist lower bids on a strong demand outlook as mills ramp-up productions. Ferrous scrap imports inquiries continued to pick up. Mills are exploring negotiations with sellers in Europe, Singapore and South Korea. Offers from Japanese suppliers rose to $485-490/mt cfr China for P&S equivalent scrap.