CIS billet export trade remains in the balance, with relatively low levels of demand matching an equally moderate amount of available supply. This creates a certainvacuum in the market for the involvement of traders, and stifles much needed momentum to establish future direction, market participants tell.
As China's appetite for billet is assessed as still having potential to grow this month,there may even be an improvement on current price levels. This is another reason why sellers are keeping offers firm and waiting, a trader says. Already,$445/t cfr China has been achieved by a Vietnamese mill, although this material has a 2% duty advantage over CIS material, Kallanish notes.
There are other supporting factors for Black Sea billet appearing, such as recovering Turkish import scrap prices, firm Russian domestic scrap prices and strong longproducts demand in Russia. The latter limits supply to the market by keepingseasonal sellers away from the already scarce market, as they continue tore-roll billet, which could be marketed for export, into rebar for domesticmarket. Several sources expect a mild winter also, with the extended construction season keeping long products demand propped up.