NEW YORK While
foreign hot-rolled coil continues to drag its feet in the U.S.
market, interest in imported cold-rolled coil might reignite
with new offers from India.
Since last year,
traders and buyers have indicated that low domestic hot-rolled
coil prices coupled with lackluster demand and an amended
Russian suspension agreement have made selling hot-rolled coil
extremely difficult stateside.
"No one is importing
hot-rolled (coil) because of the same situations and too many
anti-dumping cases," one trader said. "Apart from the Nafta
(North American Free Trade Agreement) countries, theres
so little coming from elsewhere."
Sources this past week
reported hot-rolled import deals into the Port of Houston at
$580 to $600 per short ton ($29 to $30 per hundredweight) vs.
domestic prices in the South closer to $630 to $640 per ton
($31.50 to $32 per cwt) and $640 per ton in the Midwest.
But, while hot-rolled
coil has been slow to start, new offers of cold-rolled coil
from India may peak interest.
"The new thing out
there is Indian," a second trader said. "I think its more
of a function that theres a lot of cold-rolled capacity
coming online there. Before, most of their cold-rolled were for
galvanizing lines, but with excess material theyre
willing to become more aggressive on cold-rolled deals. They
also saw the opportunity with the Chinese recently raising
prices and the (Indian) rupee taking a tumble."
Some 20,486 tonnes of
Chinese cold-rolled coil were poised to hit U.S. shores through
Sept. 25, indicating a seven-month high, license data from the
U.S. Commerce Departments Import Administration show. The
material was booked over the summer at lower prices of $640 per
ton, although others have confirmed Chinese tags have since
"It looks to me that
Chinese prices went up," one Northeast buyer said.
coil isnt a new item to the U.S. market, but it
hasnt been a steady one in quite some time. Year-to-date
data, including license data through Sept. 25, shows some 1,138
tonnes of Indian cold-rolled coil hitting U.S. shores.
An average of 525.7
tonnes of Indian cold-rolled coil was imported per month in
2012, up from an average of 316.4 tonnes per month in 2011,
according to monthly averages from the U.S. Census Bureau. In
2006, however, the U.S. market imported on average 5,877 tonnes
of Indian cold-rolled coil per month.
cold-rolled coil import transactions at $670 to $700 per ton
($33.50 to $35 per cwt) into the Port of Houston this past
week, with Indian product on the lower end while Chinese
material was on the higher end. Domestic prices in the South
were closer to $740 per ton ($37 per cwt) and $750 per ton
($37.50 per cwt) in the Midwest.
However, some buyers,
still hesitant in an uncertain domestic market, indicated that
making any plunge on imports would be difficult.
"The issue is that
when you place it, that number could drop by the time it
arrives. Youre hedging on prices going up, and I
dont think I see that for domestics right now," one East
Coast service center source said.