US wire rod market – Turkish import prices now lower than Chinese

Tuesday, 02 October 2007 10:23:00 (GMT+2)   -  


Strong Asian markets and the slowing Middle East and European markets have started to change the dynamics of wire rod imports in the US. For the first time in a long time, Turkish wire rod import prices for the US may be lower than their Chinese counterparts.

Turkish rod offers in the US have started to soften in contrast to the strengthening Chinese prices. Due to softening billet prices and slow local demand due to Ramadan, Turkish numbers are expected to trend slightly down for a while. The European market, a major customer base for Turkish longs producers, is also slow. Also, Turkish mills are not known to restrict 5.5 mm in contrast to Chinese mills, which always ask for extras for this particular size. 

Despite softening Turkish offers, Chinese offers are expected to go up further, and this makes the overall pricing trend for import wire rod still slightly up.

On the whole, import offers for mesh quality wire rod continue to range from $29.25 cwt. to $30.25 cwt. ($645 /mt to $667 /mt or $585 /nt to $605 /nt) FOB, loaded truck, in US Gulf ports, while import drawing quality rods range from $31.00 cwt. to $32.00 cwt. ($683 /mt to $705 /mt or $620 /nt to $640 /nt) FOB, loaded truck, in US Gulf ports. Prices are slightly higher on the East and West Coast, by approximately $0.50 cwt. ($10 /nt or $11 /mt).

Data from the US Import Administration show that for the first eight months of the year, the total amount of wire rod imported to the US was 1,072,567 mt, compared to the 2,148,745 mt of wire rod imported during the same period of 2006. This is almost a 50 percent decrease compared to last year.  From January through the end of August 2007, the top importers were: China (487,150 mt), Canada (220,087 mt), Brazil (101,663 mt), Trinidad & Tobago (80,670 mt), and Japan (80,670 mt).

Meanwhile, domestic wire rod prices in the US have increased by another notch since last week, with most offers climbing an average of $0.50 cwt. As of now, the expectation in the market is that the $20 /nt to $30 /nt increase announced by domestic mills will stick ($20 /nt of the increase has already been reflected in the prices below) however, the next couple of weeks will determine whether or not buyers will start purchasing at the new price level.

Most domestic low carbon offers now range from $28.50 cwt. to $29.50 cwt. ($628 /mt to $650 /mt or $570 /nt to $590 /nt), while high carbon offers range from $31.00 cwt. to $32.00 cwt. ($683 /mt to $705 /mt or $620 /nt to $640 /nt).

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