EU HRC buyers await trend clarity before restocking

European hot-rolled coil buyers followed a wait-and-see strategy July 4, awaiting certainty as to the price direction and floors before engaging in any substantive restocking.

Platts assessed HRC in Northwest Europe stable on the day at Eur840/mt ex-works Ruhr, according to data from S&P Global Commodity Insights.

Distribution sources talked about the tradable value in a range of Eur800-850/mt EXW Northern Europe, though transactional activity remained scarce. A mill source considered the Eur850/mt level as workable, seen as a minimum offer level, with offers sitting at Eur850-900/mt EXW Northern Europe.

Unconfirmed deals were heard in the market at Eur800-850/mt EXW Northern Europe, though sources continued to consider deals and offers in the said range as atypical of general trade and non-representative of the market price.

“Market activity is quiet, almost dead, and there’s no real clarity as to pricing,” said a service center source. “Most think that the price decrease has stopped, and it’ll stabilize around Eur850/mt, but inventories remain high, and no one will be looking for large quantities any time soon.”

Import offers seem to have stabilized, with South Korean material heard offered at Eur780/mt CIF Antwerp on the day.

In the Southern market, HRC was also assessed stable at Eur765/mt EXW Italy.

A trader source heard deals at Eur760-770/mt EXW Italy. The source saw potential for Italian prices to move lower on decreasing scrap costs, benefitting from better margins on production from scrap than other raw materials.

— Benjamin Steven, Maria Tanatar