EU downstream coil prices edge down in quiet market

Downstream coil prices edged lower on the week on July 27, with transactional activity muted on minimal demand amid the traditional summer wind-down.

Platts assessed cold-rolled coil in Northern Europe stable on the day at Eur955/mt ex-works Ruhr, while Southern European prices moved down Eur15 to Eur875/mt ex-works Italy.

In Northern Europe, buy-side regarded prices of Eur950/mt ex-works as achievable, while producer sources reported a tradable value at a range of Eur950-960/mt ex-works Ruhr.

In the Italian market, the workable range was wider, reported at Eur865-900/mt, with most indications concentrated at Eur870-880/mt, both ex-works Italy.

For hot-dip galvanized material, the North European price was down Eur20 on the week at Eur980/mt ex-works Ruhr. South European HDG also edged lower by Eur5, assessed by Platts at Eur895/mt ex-works Italy.

A service center source reported tradable value in Northern Europe at Eur950/mt ex-works Ruhr based on an offer heard at Eur950/mt delivered Benelux ex-Germany. The source expected the same price level to be achievable for German customers.

Producer sources disagreed, however, seeing the workable higher at a respective Eur980-1,000/mt and Eur1,000/mt, both ex-works Ruhr.

“Galvanized prices are already very close to production costs on current gas and energy costs,” a mill source, who considered Eur950/mt ex-works as unworkable, said.

In the Italian market, the lowest indication was cited at Eur880/mt ex-works, with most pricing HDG at Eur890-900/mt ex-works.

Recent demand for downstream coils has been muted alongside other flat steel products due to the traditional summer wind-down and high stock levels in the market.

Distributors had reportedly structured orders based on booming activity in 2021, leaving them with far more material on stock than usual for this period in the year given reduced demand from end-consumers and key industries such as automotive.

According to one service center source, HDG prices were holding up better than those for CRC due to competitive CRC import offers and reduced automotive demand.

Sentiments for the automotive industry were improving, with sources reporting increasing call-offs for later in the year. However, many in the market remained skeptical given the length and lack of substantive evidence for recovery.

There has been an absence of import offers for galvanized coil, aiding prices somewhat; meanwhile, Southern European import offers for CRC were heard at Eur820/mt CFR Italy ex-India and at Eur815/mt CIF Italy ex-Japan.

An offer for boron-added CRC into Northern Europe was reported on the day at around $820/mt CFR Antwerp ex-India, converted to Eur810/mt on the daily Forex.

— Benjamin Steven, Maria Tanatar