EghtesadOnline: Buying activity in Iran’s hot- and cold-rolled coil import market was sluggish in the week ending Jan. 3.
Sources told Metal Bulletin this was largely due to national holidays affecting suppliers in the CIS region, which is the leading supplier of steel to Iran.
However, had CIS mills been active in the market, trading activity with Iran would hardly have been any better, due to the protests in the Middle Eastern country.
A relatively small protest over economic grievances, which started on Dec. 28 in Iran’s second city, Mashhad, set off a wave of demonstrations that spread across the country. The protests have reportedly died down this week, Financial Tribune reported.
“The market is weak [and] trading activity has frozen [as] people [wait to see] what is going to happen next,” one trader said.
The political instability has also resulted in the depreciation of the national currency against the US dollar, and on January 3, $1 was equivalent to 43,490 rials in the free market, compared with $1 to 41,830 rials only a week ago.
This makes steel imports unattractive to Iranian customers and any traders selling to this destination. Additionally, prices for domestic flat steel also fell.
Metal Bulletin’s price assessment for imported 2-mm HRC in Iran was $565-600 per ton CFR Iranian ports on Jan. 3, compared with $570-580 per ton CFR a week earlier.
Recent bookings of small quantities of Kazakhstan-origin HRC were done in late December at $540 per ton FOB Aktau, equivalent to $565 per ton CFR with freight costs of $25 per ton.
Recent offers of Russian material were reported at €470 ($566) per ton FOB Astrakhan, or $601 per ton CFR with freight costs of $35 per ton, although no bookings were heard done at this price.
Imported 2-mm HRC is subject to a 10% duty in Iran.
At the same time, domestic HRC was available at 27,000 Iranian rials ($621) per ton ex-works.
This is while price assessment for imported CRC in Iran widened to $595-640 per ton CFR on Jan. 3, compared with $625-630 per ton CFR last week.
The lower end of the range fell after a deal for 15,000 tons of Kazakhstan-origin CRC was done at $570 per ton FOB Aktau-or $595 per ton CFR Anzali-in late December.
Recent offers of Russia-origin CRC were heard at €500-505 ($602-608) per ton FOB Astrakhan. With freight cost of $35 per ton, this would be equivalent to $637 per ton CFR in Iran.