EU HRC: Liquidity picks up, prices rise

London, 14 December (Argus) — European hot-rolled coil (HRC) prices firmed further today, as mills pulled quotations, with some leaving the market until January.

One German service centre said there has been more activity in the past 36 hours than the last six weeks combined, with buyers taking more material and service centres restocking.

The buyer said he placed around €640-650/t ($682-692/t) on Monday, and when he tried to add more tonnage on Tuesday was told this was not possible. An Iberian buyer placed an order for a few thousand tonnes of hot-dip galvanised coil with a leading producer and was told it would be made across several sites because of capacity reduction.

A leading producer is offering at €680-690/t base for dry and pickled HRC. An Italian producer pulled back from the market.

Given the outputs cuts, some are concerned supply could be tight in the first quarter and have restocked as a result.

As mills are looking to achieve €800/t and above for automotive contracts, they need to push up spot prices to close the gap with contracts, sources suggest.

Argus’ daily northwest EU HRC index nudged up by €1.25/t to €651/t, while the daily Italian index rose by €1/t to €629/t.

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