EU HRC buyers limit purchases to gauge short-term price trend

European buyers of hot-rolled coil limited purchases on Jan. 16 as they tried to get a sense of domestic price trend.

“The market is very quiet,” a Germany-based trader said. “We see limited deals as buyers are trying to understand if the price trend is sustainable.”

EU mills continued to offer April shipment at bullish prices as major producers were sold out for March shipments.

“We have seen stable demand and all our reservations for first quarter have been booked,” a steelmaker source said. “We also predict good bookings in Q2.”

Absence of real demand also concerned market participants as it threatened positive price trend sustainability, contributing to the doubt of the buyers’ additional capacities will come to the market in coming months following the restart of the blast furnaces that had been idled across Europe.

“Demand is lower than expected and lower than in the past year. So, the concerns of the buyers are understandable,” the same Germany-based trader said.

Deals were reported at Eur730-740/mt ex-works Ruhr and some at Eur740-760/mt EXW Northwest Europe. Market participants estimated tradable values at Eur730-750/mt EXW Ruhr. Majority of offers were reported at Eur800/mt EXW for April, May delivery.

Platts assessed the price of domestic HRC in Northwest Europe stable on the day at Eur740/mt EXW Ruhr Jan. 16.

Offers for imported coils were heard even though interest for the same remained dull due to concerns about Q2 safeguard quotas for HRC from other countries, also getting exhausted with no clarity on quotas for Q3.

Asian mills offered Q2 delivery HRC at Eur670-700/mt CIF Antwerp.

Platts assessed the price of imported HRC in Northwest Europe stable on the day at Eur680/mt CIF Antwerp Jan. 16.

Author Rituparna Nathrituparna.nath@spglobal.comMaria