Russian Black/Baltic Sea slab suppliers have adjusted their price expectations this week amid the softening flat steel product market in Turkey, market participants tell Kallanish.

“Turkish flats prices decreased by around $10-15/tonne [week-on-week]; therefore, Russian producers had to adjust their slab price expectations accordingly,” a Russian trading source says.

“Everyone feels there is a trend reversal budding and are afraid of the change,” observes another major Russian slab supplier.

One sanctioned Russian producer has a price idea for 40,000-50,000 tonnes of slab at around $630/t fob, grossing forward to around $660/t cfr Turkey, based on current freight rate estimations. The firm is eyeing a possible offer of another 100,000t of slab in April, Kallanish learns. A major buyer hears the producer’s material being offered at $650/t cfr Turkey, but this was not confirmed.

Another Russian sanctioned supplier’s offer indications to Turkey circled $620-630/t fob Black Sea this week, down on last week’s indications at around $710/t cfr Turkey. Both mills would be trading at discounted prices due to sanctions.

Meanwhile, initial offers from the non-sanctioned Russian mill were at $705-710/t cfr, down from $715-720/t cfr last week, considering the freight estimate at around $25-30/t.

Turkish buyers’ bids for non-sanctioned Russian material did not exceed $690/t cfr this week. Russian suppliers are competing with Asian supply, offered at slightly higher prices. However, Malaysian-origin slab imports have the advantage of being duty-free, which means Turkish mills are able to re-roll and sell in their domestic market without paying an additional duty, thereby making the material popular, a local source explains.

In Italy, re-rollers are keen to purchase Russian slab at $740/t cfr ($690-695/t fob) from a non-sanctioned mill, but technical factors are preventing purchases, a mill source says. Amid expectations of firming plate sentiment in Italy, slab import prices also look to be rising, with values gaining $30-40/t on previous Asian-origin deals to $780-800/t cfr Italy (see separate article).

In the Americas, sentiment remains firm, with Brazilian June-loading availability circling $830-850/t fob.