Retrieved from South American Global News Digest
Import prices for flat-rolled steel into South America were steady to slightly higher during the past week, with market participants already reporting a slight recovery for some materials despite the bulk of negotiations for July shipment having yet to take place.
Peru and Ecuador were still under a quarantine period aimed at preventing the spread of Covid-19, but were gradually expected to start reopening in the coming weeks.
Chile, while not subject to lockdowns or broader quarantines, has been under a curfew for the past month and a half. Some neighborhoods in the capital of Santiago were expected to close off in an effort to deal with the pandemic, potentially affecting industrial output and steel demand.
On top of the pandemic, currency exchange was increasingly becoming an issue for Brazilian importers. The currency exchange rate was 5.78 Reais per US dollar on Friday May 8, quickly deteriorating from 5.39 Reais per dollar one week earlier and 5.26 Reais per dollar on April 8.
Fastmarkets assessed the price for steel plate import, cfr main ports South America at $480-495 per tonne on Friday, widening upward by $10 from $480-485 the previous week due to more expensive offers.
While Chinese heavy plate was still expected to settle at $480-485 per tonne on the nation’s Pacific coast, some participants were expecting a price decline in the coming weeks.
Offers on an fob basis declined over the past two weeks, but freight rates increased due to smaller-volume needs in South America, one mill source said. This was reportedly making prices on a cfr basis more expensive.
Japan-origin plate, meanwhile, was offered at $495 per tonne for July shipment.
Fastmarkets’ price assessment for steel hot-dipped galvanized coil import, CFR main ports South America also widened upward by $10 to $560-580 per tonne on Friday from $560-570 per tonne on May 1.
The wider range was due to higher offers for Chinese HDG to Brazilian customers for a second consecutive week. Although demand was still hit hard by the Covid-19 pandemic in Brazil, market participants expected low inventories to spur orders soon.
Chinese material was mostly offered to South America’s Pacific coast at closer to $565-570 per tonne for July shipment. Customers, however, were expecting deals to be closer to $560 per tonne at the highest.
Fastmarkets’ assessment for steel hot-rolled coil import, CFR main ports South America tightened to $425-445 per tonne on Friday from $420-450 per tonne the previous week but retained its midpoint.
Previously reported HRC offers from the Commonwealth of Independent States to Brazil of $420 per tonne vanished from the market, with no interest shown. Clients from the South American country’s Pacific coast were bidding for Chinese material at $425-430 per tonne.
Japan-origin HRC offers to Pacific South America were at around $450 per tonne for July shipment, but most participants said $445 per tonne was more feasible.
Fastmarkets’ price assessment for steel cold-rolled coil import, CFR main ports South America was a stable week on week at $470-490 per tonne due to lower liquidity in the market.
And the assessment for steel coil Galvalume import, CFR main ports South America was $630-635 per tonne on Friday, unchanged from May 1 after reaching its lowest level since it was first published by Fastmarkets in June 2019.