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EghtesadOnline: Iranian customers still prefer local flat steel and show little interest in buying the imported stuff.

Prices for hot rolled coil offered by Russian steelmaker Magnitogorsk Iron and Steel Works, otherwise known as MMK, with March shipment to Iran ranged from €445-450/ton FOB Astrakhan ($495-500/ton CFR Anzali). 

The supplier’s offers have declined by around €5-10/ton ($10-15/ton) since mid-January, Metal Export reported.

Chinese sellers have been offering the material with April shipment at $535-540/ton CFR southern ports, Financial Tribune reported. 

“After the Lunar New Year, quotes of the Chinese material may fluctuate so we are checking the market all the time,” a trader said. 

At the same time, South Korean coils with April shipment are available at $550/ton CFR southern ports. 

“None of the import quotes for HRC corresponds to workable level in Iran,” a trader said.

At present, offers of foreign HRC with 20% import duty exceed quotes of the material from Mobarakeh Steel Company by at least $65/ton in the Iranian market. In general, hardly any foreign sellers were in talks with Iranian customers in the second week of February, as demand for the imported material was poor. 

“Pipe-makers are not in a hurry to buy the foreign material, as they expect import duty to decline to 10%,” said a market insider.

Latest offers of CRC from MMK were in the range of €500-505/ton FOB ($550-560/ton CFR) last week. Russian suppliers prefer to sell the material to other destinations where they can achieve higher prices. 

“Now demand for CRC has improved a bit in Iran but buyers still prefer the local material,” a trader said. 

Russian hot-dip galvanized steel is also available in Iran now–at $675-680/ton CFR Anzali for 1 mm coils with 120 g/sq m zinc coating.

The activity on Iran Mercantile Exchange was quite strong over the last two weeks against poor demand for imported flats. In particular, MSC sold 111,900 tons of HRC, 67,800 tons of CRC and 6,200 tons of HDG over the period.

Iran Steel Iran Steel imports Iran flat steel