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Domestic competition, weak demand limit Turkish petcoke imports

Houston — High freight rates combined with lower offers from domestic producers have kept Turkish petcoke imports uncompetitive amid weak demand, sources said Wednesday.

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Domestic sources of petcoke have been offered at $107-$108/mt. Those lower prices compared with imported petcoke, which adds $8-$10 for taxes, port fees and local transportation, a Europe-based trader said.

"Some of the prices they are offering do not look feasible when I add freight [and other costs]," he said.

S&P Global Platts assessed Supramax petcoke freight rates from Houston to Aliaga, Turkey at $21/mt Wednesday, 25 cents lower than the highest price of 2017, which was set in mid-December.

Offer prices for mid-sulfur US Gulf Coast material were being heard between the low $80s and $85/mt.

Platts assessed CIF Turkey 5% sulfur petcoke at $102/mt, unchanged week on week, based on a general market survey.

A second trader said he expects the price to come down in the coming days as freight rates drop. Interest will pick up in the next few days as buyers return from holidays and look to re-establish stockpiles, he said.

"We are not seeing requests yet," he said. "Everything is [still] very quiet."

More demand could turn the market when the springtime construction season starts, but a third source said he expects mid-sulfur prices to hold steady.

"I think it will go down, but we will have to wait a few months," the third source said.

Increased loading is projected in January and February, as cement buyers take delivery of end-of-year shipments. As ships are being loaded, prices will stay at higher levels at least until at least March, the third source said.

--Jeffrey McDonald,

--Edited by Keiron Greenhalgh,