SHANGHAI Chinas plate export market saw little movement this week as steelmakers held the line to avoid further losses.
Transactions for commercial-grade boron-containing plate were in the range of $535 to $545 per tonne f.o.b. for June shipment on April 24, unchanged from a week earlier.
Base export offers for the product held steady over the same period at $550 to $555 per tonne f.o.b. for June shipment.
Prices are unlikely to fall further in the short term because mills are unwilling to export at levels below production costs.
"We cannot absorb any further losses," a Tianjin-area export manager said. Producers are more likely to schedule maintenance or even stop production than cut prices, he added.
Three steelmakers in northern China have already suspended part of their production lines, according to market sources.
"We could break even if base export prices would rise to $570 per tonne f.o.b.," an export director with a steelmaker in eastern China said. He warned that lower sales prices might even lead to bankruptcy.
Chinas domestic plate prices dropped again this week. In Shanghai, 14- to 20-millimeter plate was trading at 3,770 to 3,790 yuan ($610 to $613) per tonne April 24, down 60 to 70 yuan ($10 to $11) per tonne week on week.
A version of this article was first published by AMM sister publication Steel First.