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Chinese steel plate export market weakens

Keywords: Tags  steel plate, plate exports, Tianjin Steel

SHANGHAI — China’s steel plate export prices fell this week due to slow business and a weak domestic market.

Transactions for commercial-grade boron-containing plate on March 27 stood at $550 to $560 per tonne f.o.b. for May shipment, down from $555 to $565 per tonne last week. Base export offers fell by a similar margin to $560 to $570 per tonne f.o.b.

"Despite lower prices, export transactions have not seen much improvement this week," an export director with one plate producer said. The steelmaker has been selling at $550 per tonne f.o.b., which some exporters believe to be low enough for the moment.

Meanwhile, another steelmaker in east China reported a drop in export bookings. "There’s been a 50-percent decrease in export orders this month," an export manager with the steel mill said.

The mill may reduce output via maintenance outages if the market still fails to improve next week, he added.

Tianjin Steel Co. Ltd. continued to suspend quotes this week on the grounds that it would make a loss with prices at current levels. The producer is focusing its efforts on domestic sales at the moment and is unlikely to turn its attention back to exports unless the market turns around, a Tianjin salesperson said.

However, the domestic market isn’t without its challenges as well, with sliding domestic Chinese prices said to be putting additional downward pressure on export prices. In Shanghai, 14- to 20-millimeter plate was changing hands at 3,900 to 3,930 yuan ($627 to $632) per tonne March 27, 10 to 20 yuan ($1.60 to $3.20) lower than a week earlier.

A version of this article was first published by AMM sister publication Steel First.

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