Financial Tribune reported that the flat steel import market in Iran continued to be influenced by an unprecedented increase in freight rates sparked by a massive rise in grain shipments to the country. Normally, when the autumn season for grain exports arrives, the cost of freight from the Russian port of Astrakhan to Iran increases by USD 3 to USD 5 per tonne from the normal rate of USD 20 per tonne, while the cost from Kazakhstan’s Aktau Port rises to USD 17 to USD 18 per tonne, compared with the usual USD 15 per tonne.
Sources told Metal Bulletin that however, this year, the rise in freight costs reached unprecedented levels, as Iran’s grain imports have soared due to a “bad harvest” in the country.
Since mid-October, freight costs for flat steel products from Astrakhan have risen to USD 47-55 per tonne, while shipping costs from Aktau rose to around USD 30 per tonne.
The reduced availability of vessels has added to the difficulties experienced by steel shippers.
A source on the selling side said that “We have a big problem with vessels now, but hopefully it will be solved by the end of November.”
Metal Bulletin’s price assessment for imported 2-mm hot-rolled coil in Iran was USD 565 to USD 575 per tonne CFR Iranian ports on Nov. 9, compared with USD 573 to USD 580 per tonne CFR a week earlier.
Several cargoes of Kazakhstan origin HRC for December shipment, totaling 20,000 tonnes, were booked by traders for Iran at USD 535 per tonne FOB Aktau, or USD 575 per tonne CFR in the Iranian northern port of Anzali.
Official offers from Russia’s Magnitogorsk Iron & Steel Works were unchanged week-on-week at EUR 460 (USD 533) per tonne FOB Astrakhan, or USD 580 to USD 588 per tonne CFR Anzali.
However, this price was considered too high by customers in Iran, with bids coming at around EUR €440 per tonNE FOB Astrakhan. According to some sources, this price would be possible to achieve now.
The price assessment for imported 0.50-1.25 mm CRC in Iran widened to USD 600 to USD 626 per tonne CFR Iranian ports on Wednesday, against USD 510t o USD 630 per tonne a week earlier.