EU HRC delivery time remains short on limited demand

Delivery time for domestic hot-rolled coil remained short from European mills — from three to six weeks — as steelmakers struggled to fill order books due to weak demand, market sources said Nov. 3.

A majority of steelmakers have not yet announced prices for the first quarter of next year.

Domestic prices, in the meantime, remained fairly stable, although some steelmakers have been willing to give discounts to secure sales. This supported bearish sentiment in the market and prompted buyers to refrain from making new deals.

Platts assessed hot-rolled coil in Northwest Europe stable day on day at Eur650/mt ex-works Ruhr Nov. 3.

A mill source reported tradable value at Eur650/mt ex-works Ruhr.

A distributor source reported offers at Eur660/mt ex-works Ruhr for January production. The source saw tradable value at Eur650/mt ex-works Ruhr for this year delivery material.

A service center source reported offers at Eur650-660/mt ex-works Northern Europe.

A trader source and a service center reported tradable values at Eur640-650/mt ex-works Ruhr and at Eur650-660/mt ex-works Ruhr, respectively.

“No mill is giving first-quarter delivery prices,” a German service center source said. “Mills still have empty order books. They have been offering new production HRC with delivery within four to six weeks, which means they do not have enough orders for this year. Offers are Eur650-660/mt ex-works Germany, but mills also send notes that they are open to receive firm bids.”

Another Northern European service center confirmed this, saying that there were no offers for next year yet.

“Not that I know of any first-quarter offers,” he said. “Nobody knows what to do. And mills need the work now! Delivery times are three to four weeks.”

Platts assessed domestic HRC in Italy at Eur655/mt ex-works Nov. 3, up Eur5/mt day on day.

The assessment was based on achievable prices estimated by market sources at Eur650-660/mt ex-works Italy.

Demand remained low, with no transactions heard Nov. 3. High stocks of distributors, low demand from end-consumers and a generally uncertain outlook on demand and prices left trading activity slow. Lack of clarity on a pricing strategy from the mills for the start of 2023 has also not supported buyers’ interest in new deals.

Some sources also said European steelmakers have focused on monthly or quarterly contracts with big buyers instead of yearly or half-year contracts due to volatile prices and due to the fact that this year buyers have not booked full volumes specified in the contracts.

Platts is part of S&P Global Commodity Insights.

— Maria Tanatar, Benjamin Steven, Anqi Liu