EU coil mills limit time slots for offers

Following official announcements of price increases last week, northwestern European coil mills appear to be playing back-and-forth games with their offer conditions.

According to a buyer at a fabricator company, a leading mill stated last Friday morning that it would leave the market, and soon thereafter other mills echoed the same. “I was wondering if that was a case for the cartel office to look into,” he quips. The market leader announced it would still sign some deals at previous prices for a limited time frame on Monday, and then refrain from offering until Thursday.

Still, on Monday, the fabricator company would have faced a price premium of €100/tonne ($99) over the values of late August. “We then ended up signing for material from another mill, still at the old price,” the buyer tells Kallanish.

Mills are apparently not as harmonised as it appeared on Friday, and it is touch and go with opportunity windows opening and closing. One big mill group, for example, seems to be more willing to make concessions because it is nearing the end of its business year and likes to have some more deals in its books, the buyer believes.

Still, mills’ attempts at setting deadlines “should make us beware that the mills mean it”, the buyer says. Even if hikes do not hold yet, he believes that sinking prices are unlikely. Like other market sources, he sees hot rolled coil, for example, at between €750/t and €800/t, and not notably shifting above the upper line, as last week’s announcement would have it.

Christian Koehl Germany