Indian HRC suppliers turned their focus to the domestic market, hiking the prices there in early December. It has accelerated bookings of domestic and imported coils on the back of concerns over a further increase. Trade on main export markets remains muted, as foreign buyers oppose higher prices.
December delivery HRC are offered at INR 36,000-36,500/t ($506-513/t) EXW in India, up INR 500-1,000/t ($7-14/t) over the month. Some producers chose to offer HRC mainly at a delivered price of INR 36,500-37,500/t ($513-527/t) excl. duties. “Domestic demand is not strong, so they want to leverage on transportation,” a local trader explained to Metal Expert.
The customers accelerated procurement of not only domestic coils, but also imported ones, expecting another price hike. At least 30,000 t of South Korean HRC (SAE 1006, 2 mm) was booked in India at $480-490/t CFR for January-February shipment this week. “Indian HRC producers have already sold significant quantities and now are considering to increase the prices by another $7-14/t,” another customer commented.
Purchasing activity on India’s major export markets remained silent. Indian HRC (2 mm and above) was available at $455-465/t FOB for January-February shipment versus $440-460/t FOB a week ago. The increase was attributed mostly to the higher offers in Vietnam. official offers from mills rose by $5/t over week
to $455-460/t FOB ($475-480/t CFR). The UAE customers could procure coils at
$480/t CFR (freight is around $20-22/t), while importers from the EU received offers at $455-465/t FOB ($490-500/t CFR), which was mostly stable week-on-week.
Foreign customers are not ready to accept the higher levels and are looking for alternative sellers. Besides, domestic demand in India has improved only slightly for now. The price increase in the country is supported by restocking more than by actual consumption, local sources report, so the buying activity may slow down again once inventories are full.