EU HRC lower as mills eye reduced demand

The EU HRC market remained quiet April 22 with little transactional activity, though mills were reported as relaxing negotiable levels to stimulate demand.

In Northern Europe, hot-rolled coil was assessed down Eur5 at Eur1325/mt ex-works Ruhr.

Service center sources reported tradable value on a variety of ranges, with all citing below Eur1350/mt as a new workable level.

“I’ve heard mills have open capacity due to reduced demand and cancelled orders from the automotive sector. Offers have moved to below Eur1350 but buyers are still waiting – there’s no rush to restock as stock levels are good, we’d rather see stability in the market before resuming purchasing,” said one buyer source.

A trader source remarked the same, reporting offers between Eur1300-1350/mt – “There’s no activity so it’s hard to tell where prices actually sit on this range.”

According to another trader source, a Eur1300/mt price could be achieved from mills on a firm bid. The source predicted a market correction of Eur100-200/mt or even higher in the near-term.

The barrier to lower pricing, as reported by mill sources, are rising energy costs, which presents a strong pricing floor for mills given production margins.

In South Europe, HRC was assessed stable at Eur1250/mt ex-works Italy.

Mill offers were reported at around Eur1250/mt, with a distributor source reporting deals on the day at said level. Sources predicted prices to fall further, with a mill source reporting bids at Eur1200/mt.

“Buyers are still resisting these levels, citing import offers at Eur1100/mt and below. There’s a willingness to buy, but still some reluctance to current prices.”

— Benjamin Steven