Owing to overbooking for March shipments, coupled with a feedstock cost-push and positive sentiment for steel in the global market, Indian mills have hiked hot rolled coil offers this week. Quotes have surged $40/tonne on-week to $870-880/t fob India. This now means prices have soared around $150/t since the beginning of last month.
“Chinese futures are not giving a good picture [since their drop on Wednesday]; iron ore has fallen and China cfr coking coal prices are really low as compared to Australia’s fob prices,” says a senior trader from a reputed trading firm. This could put downward pressure on global coking coal prices, he adds.
Iron ore and steel sentiment has however been positive in recent weeks on news that China plans to continue infrastructure investment stimulus.
“Currently, movement is slow but mills are trying to increase prices. We’ll have to wait for a week to see the real trend in China,” opines one India-based source.
Domestic retail offers for E250 grade HRC are noted at INR 66,500/t ($888.65) ex-Mumbai. Offers for E350 surged by INR 500-1,000/t to INR 69,500/t ex-Mumbai and for galvanized plain sheet are at INR 73,500-74,000/t ex-Mumbai.
“Demand in the domestic market is stable now … however, we expect a price hike in the coming days. Major mills have already started indicating higher offers,” says an Indian domestic HRC trader.
Indian-origin 2mm+ SAE 1006 grade HRC offer indications to Vietnam were heard at $880-890/t cfr Ho Chi Minh City by a few traders earlier this week.
“Indian mills are currently not offering to Vietnam; buyers in Vietnam are waiting for local mills’ offers,” says a trader active in Vietnam. “Traders, however, indicated offers from India, but no firm bids were heard.”
Indian HRC offers to United Arab Emirates and neighbouring countries surged to $910-920/t cfr UAE on Tuesday (see Kallanish passim). Major Indian mills are trying to push offers to above $920/t cfr UAE, while a few have indicated $940/t cfr UAE for April shipment.
“In future, the Indian offers are going to go up, since there is huge cost pressure,” opines a senior executive from an Indian mill. “The Indian domestic market is also hot.”
In Europe, an Indian mill sold a small lot of HRC last week at $930/t cfr Antwerp. Offers have since surged to $940-950/t cfr Antwerp. Offers to Turkey surged to $910-915/t cfr Turkey, after a recent HRC deal by an Indian mill at $890/t cfr Turkey.