The current situation in the Black Sea export billet market is puzzling, according to market participants.

Russian suppliers raised prices by Friday, but in the absence of actual transactions it was uncertain to what extent this increase would stick. Market participants expect active billet contracting from the Black Sea in the coming week to clarify the price level, Kallanish notes.

Last Wednesday, Turkish billet producer Kardemir unexpectedly managed to sell a significant amount of billet at a competitive price of $510/tonne ex-works, unchanged from two weeks prior. This swift sale, completed within an hour, has left potential Turkish billet importers confused.

But Russian billet suppliers were aiming for improved prices, following firmly rising imported scrap values in Turkey. They started offering billet at $495-500/t cfr Turkey and Egypt. 

However, a Turkish source suggests that $480/t cfr was possible to achieve in case of firm interest.

Russian mills are currently offering billet at $465-470/t fob according to Russian trader, and at $470-480/t fob as reported by a mill.

The ongoing negotiations, coupled with increasing inquiries from Turkish buyers to Russian mills, bolstered the confidence of Russian billet suppliers by the end of Friday. They anticipate achieving sales at $470-475/t fob in the upcoming week. Despite this, demand for finished steel in Turkey did not show a significant upturn compared to the preceding week. 

As a result, the assessment for Russian billet prices in the Black Sea region reached $455-460/t fob on Friday, marking a $10-15/t increase from $445-455/t fob recorded on 15 August, and up by $15-20/t from $435-445/t a week earlier.