EghtesadOnline: Customers from the Middle East continued to show interest in Iranian billet despite the high likelihood of United States sanctions, with several cargoes booked over the past week.
The (Persian) Gulf Cooperation Council countries, North Africa and Southeast Asia are the main export markets for Iranian billet.
While the US announced its intention to withdraw from the international deal on Iran’s nuclear power program in August, market participants voiced doubts that Asian customers would take the risk of buying Iranian semi-finished steel products under a renewed sanctions regime, Metal Bulletin reported.
However, they added that (P)GCC nations would find a way to arrange payments and shipments, and continue the semi-finished steel trade with Iran, according to Financial Tribune.
A substantial quantity of Iranian billet for August production was booked by mills and traders from the Middle East at $498-503 per ton FOB in the week ending June 27, sources told Metal Bulletin.
Another cargo was reportedly sold by a trader in the region at $500-505 per ton FOB.
Sources said Iranian material was also on offer at $531 CFR to a North African re-roller Algerian Qatari Solb for its tender for 50,000 tons of billet. However, the parties could not reach an agreement as the supplier faced some difficulties matching the required specification.
After the assessment was filed, Metal Bulletin heard that the tender had gone to a Germany-based trader offering Iranian material at $545 per ton CFR, although this information could not be verified by the time of publication.
Metal Bulletin’s weekly price assessment for Iranian export billet widened down by $7 per ton on the lower end of the range to $498-505 per ton FOB on June 27, from $505 per ton a week earlier.
Most volumes of Iranian slab, meanwhile, were traded to Southeast Asia, where customers currently prefer Iranian material, with the most recent offers from Iranian mills heard at $505 per ton FOB.
Customers in Southeast Asia said Iranian slab was available at $540-545 per ton CFR, which is equivalent to $505-510 per ton FOB. The material, however, found no takers, with customers wary of the pending US sanctions.
Metal Bulletin’s weekly price assessment for Iranian export slab was $505-510 per ton FOB on June 27, up by $5 per ton on the upper end of the range.