Iranian billet prices increased slightly last week to $456-458/tonne fob Iran, and in the new round of negotiations, sellers are aiming for $460/t fob and above; however, buyers are resisting at $455/t fob.

An Iranian mill concluded a billet tender on Monday but the price is yet to be confirmed. "The tender was probably finalised at $455-460/t fob,” one insider opines.

"After the energy price hikes, many plants in Europe and Turkey idled their melting shops and preferred to re-roll semis, which makes sense," a senior Gulf Cooperation Council mill official explains.

In the GCC, mills are receiving billet enquiries from Turkey and Europe, an unprecedented situation which is exciting the suppliers. However, there are billet offers from Indonesia at $570-580/t cfr GCC, which prevent GCC mills from increasing prices in their local market. Iranian billet sellers are consequently also not finding acceptance at $460/t fob and above.

"I am receiving billet offers from Iran at $456-458/t fob, but my firm bid is unchanged at $455/t fob," a trader tells Kallanish. "Egypt is not buying due to the foreign currency crunch, and the best market is either Turkey, the GCC or the Far East. In the GCC, re-rollers' firm bids are at $500-510/t delivered. Local integrated mills could not conclude billet deals despite enquiries from the West, and some reduced their prices to $515-520/t ex-works from $540-550/t ex-works. The market is very volatile, and the sentiment can change imminently."