| China's plate exporters have raised their offers after domestic flat steel prices rebounded in response to a truce called to the country's trade war with the United States.
Fastmarkets MB's export price assessment for January shipments of commercial-grade, chromium-added Chinese plate was $500-515 per tonne fob for the week ended Tuesday December 4, unchanged from a week earlier.
While Chinese exporters had agreed to sell as low as around $500 per tonne fob last week, they are sticking to higher offers this week. Hebei Puyang Iron & Steel is even asking for $525 per tonne fob this week, though this is said to be negotiable.
This came amid a price rally for flat steel in the last couple of days after the US agreed to put off additional tariffs on Chinese imports while China pledged to buy a "very substantial" amount of American goods.
China's domestic hot-rolled coil prices rose 100-120 yuan ($15-18) per tonne in Shanghai on Monday alone, and an HRC exporter based in northern China raised its official offer to $505 per tonne fob. In contrast, the exporter was heard to have sold HRC as low was $470 per tonne fob last week.
Inner Mongolia-based Baotou Steel did not update its offer on Tuesday amid the fluctuations in the domestic market, and neither did Minmetals Yingkou Medium Plate Co.
A few other mills, such as Jinan Iron & Steel Group in Hebei province, are offering their products at $505 per tonne fob this week, according to a Zhejiang-based trader.
He added that most mills would likely agree to sell at $505-510 per tonne fob even though their official offers were as high as $525 per tonne fob.
The more bullish market participants think transactions could even take place around $510-515 per tonne fob, compared with around $500 per tonne fob last week.
Trading activity remained sparse over the past week, with sources in northern China telling Fastmarkets MB that mills in that region had received fewer orders than before.
The Zhejiang-based source said that he heard of deals being concluded at $495-500 per tonne fob, but these involved very small tonnages.
Domestic plate prices in eastern China were assessed at 3,700-3,810 yuan per tonne last Friday, down 310-330 yuan per tonne from 4,010-4,140 yuan per tonne a week earlier.
Source from Fastmarkets MB