Mills increase prices for March delivery

11:18, February 16, 2011      

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TWO major Chinese steel makers raised their main product prices for March delivery to cope with higher raw material costs, after earlier increasing their January and February prices.

Baoshan Iron and Steel Co, China's largest listed mill, said yesterday it would increase prices for hot-rolled coil by 300 yuan (US$45.5) a ton, or up to 6.7 percent, and cold-rolled coil by 260-300 yuan a ton, or up to 4.9 percent.

One day earlier, Wuhan Iron and Steel Co unveiled a rise of around 300 yuan for its main products next month.

Domestic mills have been forced to raise product prices to pass on rising costs of iron ore and coking coal to downstream industries.

The spot price for Indian iron ore was quoted above US$190 per ton including freight to China, a jump of more than 50 percent from July last year, according to industry consultant Custeel.

"Steel makers are now in the late stage of the current price hike cycle," Custeel analysts Hu Yanping and Hu Zhengwu wrote in a note.

Stable raw material prices and downstream demand may help steel prices to rise, albeit at a slower pace, in the coming months, they said.

Iron ore imports reached a record high of 68.97 million tons in January, up 18.8 percent from December and 48 percent from a year earlier, according to the General Administration of Customs.

The imports surged as traders and mills built up stocks on fears of higher ore prices, according to analysts.

Source:Shanghai Daily
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