EU hot-rolled coil prices inch up, mills aim for further price rise

Domestic prices for hot-rolled coil increased in Europe on Dec. 13 due to increase of restocking activity.

Steelmakers have either been aiming for further price increases or have withdrawn offers preparing to announce higher offers.

The bullish mood in the market has been supported by a combination of higher demand from distributors due to restocking and an increase of import offers and effects from production cuts implemented by the EU steelmakers in the second half of the year.

Some sources, however, believed that the coil prices would not see a substantial rise due to limited consumption from end users.

“Mills continue to negotiate long-term contracts with end users, they cannot find common ground regarding the price,” a distributor said. “But it is already clear that automotive industry will book at least 30% less steel than usual.”

A steelmaker said demand for commodity-grade flat steel remained weak, and that it was unclear what end user demand would be.

“There are more inquiries for products with higher added value,” the steelmaker added. “And generally, it seems that buyers are more active these days. They expect mills to increase prices again. so they try to keep an eye on the prices even if they do not plan to book.”

Platts assessed HRC in Northwest Europe at Eur655/mt ex-works Ruhr Dec. 13, up Eur5 day on day. The assessment excludes carbon surcharges some Northern European steelmakers have in place.

Tradable values have been reported at Eur650-Eur660/mt ex-works both Ruhr and Northern Europe. Offers were heard at Eur680-Eur700/mt ex-works.

Platts assessed domestic HRC in the south of Europe up Eur5 on the day at Eur645/mt ex-works Italy Dec. 13. The assessment was based on tradable values reported at Eur640-Eur650/mt ex-works Italy and at offers heard at Eur680/mt delivered.

Platts is part of S&P Global Commodity Insights.

— Maria Tanatar