Black Sea basic pig iron export prices followed scrap and iron ore lower this week, with Platts’ assessment sliding $5 from last week to $382/mt FOB.
With very few sales, and none to the US, heard, a Ukrainian producer was attempting to sell at $410-415/mt CIF NOLA, a price said to be acceptable to US buyers.
US appetite for transatlantic material was said to be waning fast, as prices of prime scrap — the most closely correlated grade with BPI — continued to soften. Large buyers, such as Severstal, also were said to be out of the market until May/June, according to local sources. Nucor was reportedly shipping 4,000 mt of DRI from its Louisiana plant to its mills in the US Southeast, which would curtail its own buying needs, sources added.
Buyers in Italy were bidding at $410-415/mt CFR for Ukrainian BPI, a price equivalent of $380-385/mt FOB Black Sea, considering freight would be $30/mt. But freight rates were causing some concern among traders and producers as ice has now extended from Mariupol to Berdyansk and Odessa, and other ports were becoming overloaded, sources said.
“I don’t know how anyone can make money selling to Italy even at $420/mt CFR. The weather is only getting worse, so there will be extra charges and delays, almost certainly,” one trader said.
The Turkish market remained quiet, with no sales reported. There were a few bids at $400/mt and one at $407/mt CFR, according to one trader.
A Ukrainian 200,000 mt cargo was sold at $377/mt FOB Azov Sea port, end-of-March load readiness, to traders, with partial pre-payment. Both Ukrainian exporters were said to have closed February books and were delving into March production.