0840 GMT February 19, 2019
"Our 50,000-ton billet cargo recently was sold at $520 per ton FOB but we had a $540 per ton bid for slab now," Khouzestan Steel Co.'s Sales Deputy Bahman Tajalizadeh told S&P Global Platts.
"We still expect higher prices, I think $550 per ton for late April or May-delivery will be practical within next ten days," Tajalizadeh added.
"Only a few of exporters accept new orders now and most of them prefer to be out of the market maybe until the next Iranian year (beginning from March 21) and after the New Year (Norouz) holidays," a trader said.
"South Kaveh Steel is in the market and has recently opened an exporting tender," he said.
The company announced Thursday it is going to focus on export markets more than before.
"About one million ton of SKS billet will be exported in the next year, about 80 percent of total capacity," South Kaveh Steel's sales deputy told reporters.
A trader in Tehran said that exports are being supported by Iran's currency devaluation in the last few weeks and overseas prices are clearly more than the domestic market at the moment.
According to an Iranian Steel Producers' Association, or ISPA, report published on the group's website Thursday, some 6.55 million tons of steel products were exported in the ten months to January 20, which is up 48 percent from the same period in the previous year.
Some 5.36 million tons of semi-steel products — 2.95 million tons of billet and 2.41 million tons of slab — were exported during the ten month period (up 89 percent year-on-year).
In contrast, exports of finished products fell sharply to 1.18 million tons during the same period — down 25 percent year-on-year, the report added.
Hot rolled coil exports, or HRC, showed the largest decrease at 488,000 tons, down 52 percent year-on-year.
Some 567,000 tons of sponge iron were also exported by Iranian companies, about four times higher compared with the same period last year, the ISPA report said.