BMTI Dry Bulk Commodity Update (21 Sep 2021)

wheat field commoditiesEuropean steelmakers say they are concerned that the European Commission may soon suspend duties on certain steel products in the same way that it has with proposed to do with Chinese flat-rolled alumi­nium. The commission recently released a proposal to suspend duties on Chinese aluminium for a limited nine-month period. China has returned to being a net importer of aluminium products (instead of a world-leading exporter) due to the impact of environmental regulations on the production of the metal. European steel mills say they now are con­cerned that similar measures will be made for steel products, which would allow increased imports of Chinese steel products, particularly those that have been in relatively short supply across the European Union in recent months. As domestic European de­mand for steel resurged this year, steel prices have simultaneously climbed to multi-year highs. A part of the commission’s logic for reducing duties is to ease the shortage of steel products across the EU, making manufacturing and construction operations easier for European industry at large.

Import prices for scrap metal to Turkey have been largely unchanged, although they have still managed to keep price pressure under control despite a gen­eral decline in demand. HMS 1/2 80:20 scrap was sold by a Baltic supplier at US$ 445/mt CFR for Turkish Med redelivery. Bonus scrap was sold at US$ 460/mt CFR on the same deals. Market sources say that relative lack of rebar and billet in the do­mestic Turkish market has helped keep scrap prices buoyant as well. Billet at Iskenderun is currently trading at around US$ 620/mt ex-works ex-VAT. One Continental European scrap supplier sold a mixed cargo at an average price of US$ 443/mt CFR to Marmara (basis October shipment). Short sea scrap steel shipments to Turkey (HMS 1/2 80:20) are said to be trading at around US$ 419/mt CIF.

French wheat quality has been adversely impacted by heavy rainfall this year, meaning that a larger portion of total output must be graded for animal feed rather than, for example, milling wheat for human consumption. But as the European Union’s biggest wheat exporter, France has some diplomatic leverage in trade agreements and has reached an agreement with China to allow slightly eased con­dition standards in test weights for milling quality. Chinese wheat importers will now accept readings of 75kg or higher instead of the 77kg minimum that was the previous standard. Importers Saudi Arabia and Algeria have also reduced their test weight re­quirements to allow for European wheat in 2021.

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