CIS exporters of billet faced tougher trading conditions in traditional overseas markets in March.

Suppliers operating in the Caspian Sea and Far East ports issued lower quotations, following negative price sentiment and a shortage of active buyers. In China, demand has softened following the introduction of measures to tighten liquidity and bank lending conditions. In the interim, any price movement is expected to be minor.

Procurement activity in India has been disrupted by negative price expectations. Billet producers have resisted pressure to lower their official prices. Demand from re-rollers has been negligible. Inventory rebuilding is expected to take place in April.

The Iranian billet market was subdued in March. Local steelworks stopped restocking in the fortnight prior to the country’s New Year holidays. Price sentiment for April is mixed.

Difficult trading conditions persist in Turkey. Buying activity recovered slower than expected. Both domestic billet and CIS import prices remain unattractive. Traders are ambiguous about April’s market trend - most plan to assume a 'wait and see' policy.

Ferrous scrap transaction values rose in India and South Africa in March. Effective selling figures in the US domestic market were steady. Local steelmakers failed to negotiate lower prices. Suppliers were able to maintain the status quo, following improved export demand and low collection rates.

Purchasing prices in Japan softened in early trading. Electric steelmakers had already rebuilt their inventories. The country’s major scrap yards are expected to resume shipments shortly. In China, provincial ferrous scrap quotations declined marginally.

Domestic steelmakers operating in Guangzhou and Hebei issued lower purchasing prices in March, following weakening demand for finished steel products. Declines were also noted in the Russian and European markets.

Source MEPS