The October GOES M3 moved up by one point to 194. Meanwhile, as MetalMiner reported last month, imports have increased throughout 2017, largely due to higher Japanese import levels.
This trend continued in September with a noted overall import increase of nearly 11.5% from August import levels while Japanese import levels increased by nearly 18%, according to the latest International Trade Administration data.
Last month, this publication noted that Japanese imports accounted for 55% of total monthly GOES imports. However, this number jumped in September to nearly 70% of total imports. Japanese mills primarily produce the higher grades of grain oriented electrical steel, including H1-B, as well as laser quality materials.
According to a recent TEX Report, Japanese mills will likely begin negotiations within the next week or two for 1H 2018 volumes. Many producers of these H1-B and laser quality materials have obtained price increases but at the same time, the price spread between conventional grades and high-grades has increased.
Whenever the market creates a spread wider than the historical average, buying (and selling) organizations can take advantage of arbitrage opportunities. Though we tend to see these types of trends more typically in other steel markets, such as hot-rolled coil or cold-rolled coil, market anomalies for GOES create buying opportunities.
Therefore, we could expect the Japanese mills to pay very careful attention to price levels so as not to exacerbate the current price spread between the two types of materials and to prevent buying organizations from considering alternatives.
From a U.S. import perspective, we can see that average prices from Japan have increased to the U.S.
When ATI left the GOES market here in the U.S., the industry needed to reconfigure its supply chains for standard or conventional materials. Power equipment manufacturers moved production elsewhere and/or secured new sources of supply offshore.
Clearly, the demand for high-grade materials continues to rise.
Exact GOES Coil Price This Month