Coil lead times remain unreliable in northwest Europe

While recent market observations tell of increasing opportunities for catching newly-released spot coil volumes before year-end, buyers overall keep complaining about long and sometimes unreliable delivery.

In one case, a German mill pledged delivery in the 18th calendar week. “Then they kept postponing on a weekly basis, so now we are looking at week 23, if that works out,” a Ruhr-based stockholder tells Kallanish. “The performance of delivery is lousy at all the big mills.” Even if some new opportunities for volumes for rolling in 2021 have been reported, he doubts that delivery will occur this year.

Such conditions are murky ground for back-to-back business, another German notes. “It is hard to arrange something with my customers that makes them willing to strike a deal. With a delivery time in January, you won’t get anyone out of the woodworks today. People think twice, in fact three times, before they place an order that far away,” he explains.

If offers are made by the mill, “they come with lots of 500 or 750, in any case less than 1,000 tonnes. For any additional lots, you need to pay proportionally more,” the Ruhr manager observes. While he reports a range of €1,120-1,150/t ($1,334-1,370) for hot rolled coil, other sources in Germany and the Benelux see the price inching more towards the €1,170 defined by the market leader mill earlier in June.

According to a Dutch observer, some German producers, for example, are supplying their regular customers with up to 50% less than the traditional quantities. Requests from potential new customers are rejected in advance, he says.

Christian Koehl Germany