Higher Freight Rates, Lack of Vessels Dent Steel Imports
Released in time:11/14/2017 1:37:16 AM Browse The Times:159
The flat steel import market in Iran continued to be influenced by an unprecedented increase in freight rates sparked by a massive rise in grain shipments to the country.
Normally, when the autumn season for grain exports arrives, the cost of freight from the Russian port of Astrakhan to Iran increases by $3-5 per ton from the normal rate of $20 per ton, while the cost from Kazakhstan's Aktau Port rises to $17-18 per ton, compared with the usual $15 per ton.
However, this year, the rise in freight costs reached unprecedented levels, as Iran's grain imports have soared due to a "bad harvest" in the country, sources told Metal Bulletin.
Since mid-October, freight costs for flat steel products from Astrakhan have risen to $47-55 per ton, while shipping costs from Aktau rose to around $30 per ton.
The reduced availability of vessels has added to the difficulties experienced by steel shippers.
"We have a big problem with vessels now, but hopefully it will be solved by the end of November," a source on the selling side said.
Metal Bulletin's price assessment for imported 2-mm hot-rolled coil in Iran was $565-575 per ton CFR Iranian ports on Nov. 9, compared with $573-580 per ton CFR a week earlier.
Several cargoes of Kazakhstan-origin HRC for December shipment, totaling 20,000 tons, were booked by traders for Iran at $535 per ton FOB Aktau, or $575 per ton CFR in the Iranian northern port of Anzali.
Official offers from Russia's Magnitogorsk Iron & Steel Works were unchanged week-on-week at €460 ($533) per ton FOB Astrakhan, or $580-588 per ton CFR Anzali.
However, this price was considered too high by customers in Iran, with bids coming at around €440 per ton FOB Astrakhan. According to some sources, this price would be possible to achieve now.
The price assessment for imported 0.50-1.25 mm CRC in Iran widened to $600-626 per ton CFR Iranian ports on Wednesday, against $510-630 per ton a week earlier.
Kazakhstan-origin material was reported available for foreign customers at $570 per ton FOB Aktau, or $600 per ton CFR Anzali, down $25 per ton week-on-week.
The shrinking of the margin between CRC and HRC prices was explained by reduced interest in downstream steel products.
Offers of Russian CRC remained unchanged at €500 per ton FOB Astrakhan, which would be equivalent to $626-634 per ton CFR Anzali.
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