ASEAN mills eye price hike after Chinese rebound

ASEAN mills expected to increase prices due to strong Chinese billet market.

Bangkok, September 3 2021 – The rebound in the Chinese domestic billet market has spurred optimism among regional exporters, Kallanish notes. They are now aiming for higher export prices. However, Chinese traders report they have not heard of any deals taking place since the market has recovered.

An Indonesian mill is currently offering blast furnace billet at $685/tonne cfr China, a Chinese trader reports. A leading Vietnamese blast furnace mill was offering material at $630/t fob Vietnam before Chinese domestic prices lifted. "China is up so I don't think the mill will accept this level now," a Vietnamese trader says. The Chinese trader and a few other sources hear the mill is now aiming to export to China at $660/t fob.

Others say that $660/t fob is too high for the current time. Many Vietnamese blast and electric arc furnace mills are offering 150mm 3sp billet at $680/t cfr China, a Vietnamese trader says. The latest booking prices to the Chinese market took place at $620-630/t fob.

Another trader heard a bid for Vietnamese blast furnace billet on 30 August at only $5/t higher versus transacted prices of $630/t fob last week. Freight for most billet cargoes from Vietnam is around $30-40/t, depending on the Chinese unloading port and tonnage of the cargo.

Vessels plying from Vietnam to China have incurred higher freight costs in recent weeks. “Vessels from Vietnam are placed under quarantine for 14 days,” the first Vietnamese trader notes.

In Tangshan, billet prices rose to CNY 5,020/t ($777/t) on 31 August, compared to CNY 4,930/t on 24 August.