Metals News: As a result of an improvement in flat steel demand, especially for thicker material, prices are increasing steadily on both the Iran Mercantile Exchange and the off-exchange market, S&P Global Platts learned from IME and market sources.

Some 88,000 mt of sheet produced by Mobarakeh Steel Company was traded on the IME on Tuesday, indicating a strong level of demand. Different sizes of MSC-produced hot rolled coil traded at Rial 16.54 million-17.34 million/mt ($456-$479/mt), which is about 6% more than last week's trade levels. CRC traded at Riyal 20.87 million/mt, a 10% increase week on week. MSC is the only supplier of flats that is working with its full capacity, a market participant said. The latest price for imported HRC with thickness of 2 mm was reported as Riyal 20.02 million/mt in the southern ports of Iran and Riyal 20.08 million/mt for CIS-produced material delivered in Anzali, northern Iran, which is about 7% more than last week. Prices are expected to rise further since the exchange rate of the Iranian currency has decreased in recent days, a local market specialist said. Mahmoud Akbari, deputy head of sales at MSC, said in October that the company's priority is to supply material needed by Iran's downstream manufacturers, and export is of secondary importance. However, the country's demand for thin strips probably would be more than MSC's capacity, so import volumes are likely to rise despite the 20% import duty. As reported by Platts previously, some 201,000 mt of carbon steel flat products were imported by Iran in the sixth month of the current Iranian year (to 21 September 2016), a 22% month-on-month increase.


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