The billet import market in Southeast Asia has turned negative, Kallanish notes. Buying interest has dried up since prices started falling at the end of the week through 17 March.

Chinese 3sp grade 150mm billet is heard offered at $610/tonne cfr Manila since early last week. “There are zero takers,” a Manila trader says. Another heard on Friday of an offer for Chinese 3sp 150mm billet at $605/t cfr. Kallanish assessed 5sp/ps or Q275 120/125/130mm square billet at $610-615/t cfr Manila, down $10 on-week.

“There’s a confidence deficit in the market” preventing steel prices and demand from lifting strongly, a Manila trader says. This was “triggered largely by recent banking issues in the USA and Europe,” he adds. But he also notes there are “hardly any” offers in the market. “I guess suppliers know it’s pointless to keep dropping offers,” he observes.

Philippine deals last took place for Chinese 5sp 150mm grade billet, and for EAF and induction furnace 5sp 130mm grade billet from Vietnam at $620/t and $630/t cfr respectively early in the 17 March week.

“Everything is super bearish,” a trader says of the regional billet market. He has heard of Iranian billet offered at $600-605/t cfr Indonesia. However, Indonesian 3sp billet is still offered at $625/t cfr Indonesia. “It’s still high,” a re-roller in Jakarta says. He does not think buyers would be keen on the Iranian billet either. "Prices are falling," he adds.