EU HRC distributors in ‘destocking mode,’ demand to return for Q1 purchasing

Transactional levels were relatively stable in the European hot-rolled coil market on Oct. 3, although market participants continued to lament unsatisfactory demand.

Distribution sources reported tradable value in a range of Eur700-730/mt ex-works Ruhr, although the sell side saw workable price levels higher at Eur720-750/mt ex-works Ruhr and Northern Europe.

Repeatable deals for commodity grades were confirmed at around Eur740/mt ex-works Northern Europe by a mill source.

Platts assessed hot-rolled coil stable on the day at Eur730/mt ex-works Ruhr. In South Europe, HRC was also assessed stable at Eur725/mt ex-works Italy.

Market participants reported service centers and distributors were in a destocking or wait-and-see mode, suggesting no intention to purchase substantially in the near-term. Steel consumption from core industries remained poor, limiting the rate at which distributors could deplete relevant inventories.

“The latest info we have from service centers and other distributors is that they are in a destocking or wait-and-see mode,” a mill source said. “General demand will stay down for a few weeks at least before buyers come back for [the first quarter] – prices could rebound then.”

Platts is part of S&P Global Commodity Insights.

— Benjamin Steven, Maria Tanatar