Black Sea pig iron prices, trade slump
The Black Sea pig iron market has been quiet between the 1 and 9 May holiday period in Russia, with buyers adopting a wait-and-see attitude amid falling scrap prices and a stronger rouble, sources tell Kallanish.
Kallanish assessed Russia-origin pig iron at $380-405/tonne fob Black Sea, compared to a week earlier when it was at $390-410/t fob.
According to a Russian mill source, pig iron prices are expected to keep sliding down, following falling scrap import prices; however, without any deals, it is difficult to determine workable price levels.
Turkish buyers are refraining from import buying amid falling scrap prices, with the upcoming election on 14 May contributing to the slowing of business activity. This situation could persist until June if the presidential election in Turkey goes to a second round.
Russian suppliers were unable to sell at $380/t fob to Turkish buyers, with customers in Turkey assessing a workable PI price at $400/t cfr Turkey.
In Italy, scrap prices have dropped over €30/t ($32) on-month in May, with mills pushing for lower values because of slow finished steel orders. PI offers from the Black Sea ranged from $465-480/t cfr Italy, with the high side offered to foundries. Bids from Italian buyers did not exceed $450/t cfr. A mill source evaluates the Italian market at $440-450/t cfr. Italian pig iron distributors are offering at $510/t cfr to local mills.
Russian-origin material offers were heard in India at $450/t cfr, but bids at $425-430/t cfr did not result in deals. A market participant predicts that prices in India will fall as mills there have experienced a drop in steel export orders and will be oversupplied.
In the US, the market anticipates bushelling contract settlement this coming week, with negative sentiment prevailing. Based on the most recent transactions, pig iron prices would still be assessed at the $550/t cfr Nola level, according to a market participant. However, one trading source reports that buyers in the US would expect $520-530/t cfr, considering the Federal Reserve’s interest rate hike and falling scrap prices. Another trading source mentions that $510-520/t cfr Nola is "in the air”.
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