Bullish sentiment grows in European steel coils market

The European steel coils market held steady Sept. 11, with most conditions now in place for the market to rise further, sources told S&P Global Platts.

The Platts TSI hot-rolled coil index was calculated Sept. 11 at Eur475/mt ($562.26/mt) ex-works Ruhr, falling Eur1.

Cold-rolled coil remained stable and unchanged from Sept. 10 and was assessed at Eur532.50/mt EXW Ruhr, a level last seen April 23.

In Southern Europe, HRC slipped 50 euro cent to be assessed at Eur471/mt EXW South Europe.

An Italian mill source said that they would be offering at Eur480-Eur490/mt EXW Italy but that “the market is not there yet,” suggesting other mills would follow.

“The [material] shortage is real — everyone needs material, SSC tube makers and rerollers,” the mill source said.

An Italian buyer said the market would be moving fast and that a deal struck at Eur443/mt EXW Italy was not possible anymore the next day as prices increased to Eur460/mt.

An Italy-based service center source said he was now looking for the uptrend to continue until the end of the year.

“I am bullish until the end of December, beyond that I cannot tell and January is an unknown element at the moment,” he said.

“Prices went up aggressively in September and nothing is possible now below Eur470-Eur480/mt,” he said adding that at current levels tube manufacturers and end-users have made bookings but Italian service centers would consider current prices expensive and approach the market cautiously.

A German distribution source said that steel producer furnace restarts will bring capacity online and result in the market peak by November.

“I believe the market could top out by November as capacity comes back to the market, so I am not buying anything, for now, I will wait until then,” he said.

Seasonal destocking for year-end along with ongoing coronavirus second-wave risk could also impact the market recovery, the source said.

— Len Griffin, Laura Varriale