Brazilian mining firm Vale has settled fourth-quarter pellet premiums for blast furnace (BF)-grade pellet at $20/dry metric tonne (dmt) over a 65pc Fe index, while direct reduction (DR)-grade pellet has settled at $24/dmt.
The settlements for BF-grade pellet premiums are nearly flat with the previous quarter and lower by around $3/dmt for DR-grade pellets.
European steel markets have started to show increases, lifting outlooks for pellet demand into one of its major markets. The Argus benchmark northwest European index increased by €4.25/t to €455/t ex-works on 3 September, while the Italian index nudged up by €0.75/t to €446/t ex-works.
Most market participants still expect the uptrend in European prices to continue, with some saying that the market could return to pre-Covid levels during September-October.
Japanese steel producers have hinted at an increased downstream performance later this year, although the country's iron ore imports fell by 19pc and coking coal imports dropped by 6pc during January-July.
Pellet portside inventories fell for the second consecutive week to around 10.4mn t as of 28 August.
Indian pellet producers have expressed concerns about the availability of their raw material supplies from the impact of Covid-19, monsoon rains and recently completed mine auctions. Concerns about Indian supplies have largely been brushed because of robust portside stocks, but a recent increase in prices has again drawn attention to Indian supply outlooks.
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