Black Sea Russian flat steel prices face pressure from low demand

Russian flat steel prices in the Black Sea market continued moving down on Aug. 24 as buyers hesitated to make purchases and the demand outlook for September remained bleak, sources said.

Russian efforts to export were concentrated on Turkey, as other markets including Europe were closed due to sanctions or South America was too far away to justify very high freight costs. Still, some sales to the Middle East and North Africa were maintained, a Russian mill source said.

Russian hot-rolled coil offers from one mill were pegged at $600/mt CFR Turkey, a buy-side source said, adding that offers from other Russian companies may be lower, but they would not be considered due to Western sanctions against those companies. The buyer added that he was waiting with placing any HRC orders as the “demand is very very low. Almost no movement in the market.”

A Russian source reported recent HRC prices at $560-$590/mt CFR Turkey, adding that the market most likely remained in this range. He added that Indian offers to Turkey were at $610/mt CFR.

Platts assessed the weekly CIS export HRC price at $520/mt FOB Black Sea Aug. 24, down $15/mt from Aug. 23.

Slab offers were heard at $470/mt CFR Turkey, but no sales were reported close to this level. A Russian deal at $455/mt CFR Izmir was cited by one source, however. A Turkish source mentioned Russian slab available at $450/mt CFR Turkey. He added that alternatives were considerably higher, including Chinese slabs at $550-$560/mt CFR and Brazilian slabs at $600/mt CFR Turkey.

Platts assessed the weekly CIS export slab price at $415/mt FOB Black Sea Aug. 24, down $20/mt from Aug. 23.

Source: Steel Business Briefing Ltd