Major finished steelmakers in China have hiked January shipment prices following bullish raw materials prices and rising steel demand, globally. Baosteel raises domestic HRC prices for January delivery by CNY400/mt ($61/mt) from December shipments prices on Dec 10. The steelmaker also raised prices for other flat products including CRC, HDG, and PPGI by CNY400‑500/mt ($61‑76/mt). Thick plate and section steel prices rose by CNY300/mt.
In China, demand from domestic auto and household sectors rose sharply in December, while the gap between supply and demand extended amid a shortage of raw materials globally. In November and December, Baosteel had maintained the uptrend with small price hikes of CNY100/mt ($15/mt) each. Following Baosteel’s lead other flat steelmakers in China and Southeast Asia are likely to lift prices further in the next few days.
In the export market, Chinese HRC tags crossed $625-630/mt fob China gaining $20-25/mt since early December.
Bullish iron ore
Supply shortage and trade tensions with Australia pushed iron ore prices to a seven-year high in China. On Dec 10, Australian iron ore Fe 62pc traded at $157-158/mt cfr China, up $7-8/mt in a single day.
Prices have increased by over 35pc since Nov 1 and by over 20pc since Dec 1. Cyclone alert in Pilbara port, the possibility of suspension of Australian imports and supply crunch in Brazil will add to supply concerns in the coming days.
Chinese domestic billet prices settled at CNY3,660/mt ex-Tangshan works on Dec 10, gaining CNY20/mt from the prior day, while export prices rose $15/mt.