Back-to-back trading seen in low-demand EU HRC market

Hot-rolled coil prices in the European market declined the week beginning Oct. 17 as distributors continued attempts to deplete stocks amid poor steel consumption.

Platts assessed hot-rolled coil in Northwest Europe down Eur10/mt on the day at Eur660/mt ex-works Ruhr.

Market participants generally regarded the tradable level as within Eur650-670/mt ex-works Ruhr, as confirmed by both buy- and sell-side sources.

“Buyers are still focused on destocking — there is some limited back-to-back trading, but no restocking activity,” a mill source said. “Maybe we’ll see some improvement in demand next year.”

Mills were heard attempting to avoid further furnace stoppages due to costs and time elements, compounded by unpredictability both in the steel market and the wider global economy.

Given the proximity between domestic and import prices, buyers showed no interest in foreign material given the lack of competitive values and long lead times.

Buyers were heard bidding at Eur610-620/mt CIF for imported coil against offers higher at Eur650/mt CIF — within the range of achievable prices perceived in the domestic European market.

Workable prices for Italian HRC were still heard at a premium to German tradable levels, heard at Eur670-680/mt ex-works Italy Oct. 17. As such, HRC in Italy was assessed down Eur5/mt on the day at Eur680/mt EXW.

Platts is part of S&P Global Commodity Insights.

— Benjamin Steven, Maria Tanatar