EU coil price hike attempts falter

Northwest European coil mills’ latest price hike announcements are neither in line with each other, nor very convincing, according to regional buyers.

“We do hear of hikes being announced but they do not play a role in direct negotiations,” a manager at a German distributor tells Kallanish. He says the first signals came from Italian mills, then from a pan-European producer, and then Nordic mills followed up. “I hear that [another player in western Europe] is pondering [a hike],” he adds. “But, indeed, only pondering, not more.” He says the hike attempts were of between €20/tonne and €30/tonne ($21.50-31.25).

A manager at a Benelux fabricator tells of a more ambitious announcement from a big mill group, a €50/t increase, which he calls “bewildering, in view of the obvious meagre activity on the market”.

According to the German manager, the lowest point was reached at around €630/t ($677) for hot rolled coil from northwestern mills, or €20 less for HRC from Italy or eastern Europe. Most buyers still see current HRC prices at around €650/t, give or take €20.

A buyer at a German processor says he hears of “modest upward adjustments, with prices of €650-680, and trending towards €700.” But those figures are making their way mostly indirectly by word of mouth. “I have not heard official announcements from the northwestern European mills so far,” he adds.

Another buyer at a service centre has also not heard of official announcements and dismisses all hearsay. “There are always rumours, but, effectively, there is no move,” he observes.

Christian Koehl Germany