Chinese SS400 HRC prices rise in Vietnam market

Vietnam’s import market for commercial-grade hot rolled coil has rebounded. Buyers acceded to higher prices after Chinese steel futures picked up.

Deals for 3-12mm thickness SS400 HRC struck at $580-590/tonne CFR Vietnam after bottoming out at $550/t CFR at the end of the week through 22 July. The $550/t CFR could have been a trader’s position cargo, though, some market participants say. “The price of $550/t did not hold for long. I do not know of anyone who booked at $550,” a trader in Ho Chi Minh City says. She believes the market ebbed at $570/t CFR instead.

Offers for SS400 HRC from China have now been lifted to $605-620/t CFR. Chinese traders say they are seeing some bids at $600/t CFR. A 1,000-tonne September shipment cargo was booked at $600/t CFR on 29 July, a Chinese trader reports.

Vietnam’s Hoa Phat has nearly sold out its HRC allocations, a company source said on Friday. “The market picked up since Wednesday,” he added. The mill pegged its September/October shipments at $610/t CFR Vietnam. Buyers prefer buying domestically because they can order smaller tonnages and delivery times are shorter.

Traders have mixed views about the current price run-up. The Vietnamese trader deems $600/t to be “reasonable” because “market demand and the global economy are still bad”. Another Vietnamese trader thinks the market “should be able to rise more till $650/t”.

Meanwhile, limited imported offers for re-rolling HRC are heard in Vietnam. Indian SAE 1006 HRC was last heard concluded at $610/t CFR Vietnam during the 22 July week. Material from the same mill is currently offered at $600/t CFR, a Vietnamese trader reports. In Malaysia, a leading South Korean mill is offering HRC at $630/t CFR base for all grades, for 10,000t orders for September shipment. “Buyers are bidding at $600/t CFR,” a Taiwanese trader says.

Re-rollers are sitting on large HRC inventories because extremely weak domestic and export demand for coated steel is slowing down consumption. Re-rollers are holding stocks booked at $900-950/t, whereas prices are now at $620-650/t, a regional trader notes. These re-rollers would have to mitigate the price differential, he says. But he does not foresee any rebound soon because he expects the Chinese market to remain flat for the next 2-3 months.


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