Downstream flat steel prices stable to slightly higher across Europe; trading limited

The European market for cold-rolled and hot-dip galvanized coil remained quiet over the past week with subdued trading, sources told Fastmarkets on July 5.Firm offers were rare, especially for HDG, with most integrated mills taking a “case by case” approach.

“In recent weeks, producers were largely focused on long-term contract negotiations with end users [from the] automotive industry, rather than on spot sales,” a trading source said.

Buyers’ estimates of tradeable values were heard between €770 ($839) and €790 per tonne ex-works for CRC and around €780-800 per tonne ex-works for HDG in Northern Europe.

One integrated mill in the region was offering CRC at €780 per tonne EXW and HDG at €800 per tonne EXW, both for September delivery, sources told Fastmarkets.

An Italian mill sold a small HDG lot to Germany with August-delivery at €790-800 per tonne CPT, sources said.

Buying interest has improved a bit, with customers looking to book material ahead of summer stoppages at mills, but traded volumes remained low, according to market participants.

“Now we mainly see buying activity to cover possible shortage of coil as summer holidays are almost [here] and some mills might prolong the holiday periods for maintenance. On top of that, technical issues at some [French and German mills] might lead to reduced material availability and longer lead times,” a trading source said.

Fastmarkets’ weekly price assessment for steel cold-rolled coil domestic, exw Northern Europe was €770-790 per tonne on Wednesday, up by €10 per tonne from €760-780 per tonne on June 21.

The corresponding weekly price assessment for steel hot-dipped galvanized coil domestic, exw Northern Europe was €790-800 per tonne on Wednesday, narrowing upward from €780-800 per tonne a week ago.

Import offers for CRC and HDG were few in the assessment week, sources said.

August-shipment material was sold out at most mills, while new offers were mainly for September and October shipments, which would mean arrivals would take place in November and December.

One Vietnamese mill was reportedly aiming for €720 per tonne CFR to Italy for CRC with September shipment, while bids were no higher than €700 per tonne CFR, sources said.

Deals for Japan-origin CRC were reportedly sealed at €690-695 per tonne CFR late in the week to June 30, but Japanese suppliers were reportedly not offering the material this week.

South Korean mills were also out of the market due to quota issues, sources said.

“Some traders are facing losses as some quotas have been exceeded,” a second trading source said.

Published by: Julia Bolotova