Demand rebounds for Italian CRC, HDG

Italian cold rolled and hot-dipped galvanised coil prices are rising by over €50/tonne ($54) compared to the beginning of the month. Market activity over the past three weeks has become lively, with producers quickly filling their January order books and quoting February lead times, market sources tell Kallanish.

Sellers are reporting good sales volumes finally coming back to the market, with improved prices “that at least cover costs”, one says. This is in line with the steep and quick transaction price increases registered in Europe for hot rolled coil, which went over €640/t base ex-works last week.

The return of demand comes after two months of very low orders, particularly for CRC which suffered from competition from cheaper Asian-origin import offers. Domestic demand is also back for CRC, which is reflected in increasing contract values.

The previous subdued level of orders seems to have generated some shortages at buyers’ warehouses. Producers are selling good volumes of both CRC and HDG for the first quarter. From the October low, prices for HDG are now at €750/t base ex-works and some €10/t less for CRC. Demand from other European countries such as France and Germany is also strong, with Italian mills selling volumes to these countries at approximately €800-810/t base delivered.

Some sources doubt the current prices will last due to the low consumption downstream. However, others are confident that a further step of increases will take place due to the lack of cheap import offers and low European domestic coil availability.

Natalia Capra France