EU HRC market activity dull while buyers await price decrease

European hot-rolled coil market activity remained sluggish on Feb. 15 while buyers hold back from trading on limited real demand and anticipated price decrease.

This and sufficient inventories of distributors made buyers focus on back-to-back trading.

“When you ask the buyer what the price should be for them to make an order, they do not give any answers because they are not really keen to purchase anything,” a distributor source said.

Deals for domestic HRC in Northwest Europe were reported at Eur730/mt ex-works Ruhr. Tradable values were reported at Eur700-730/mt ex-works Ruhr by market participants.

Platts assessed the price of domestic HRC in Northwest Europe stable on the day at Eur730/mt ex-works Ruhr Feb. 15.

“The market is a big mess, demand is non-existent and the prices are moving to Eur700/mt ex-works across Europe,” a service-center source said.

Several market sources confirmed that prices were moving in the direction of Eur700/mt ex-works Europe.

A second-quarter safeguard quota is expected to be full for the majority of origins in the first few days of April. So any import booked now would be custom cleared in the third quarter, when the safeguard case might change after the yearly review that the European Commission started on Feb. 9. The final results of the review and of possible extension are expected to be announced by July 1.

“Interest in import is almost non-existent because of long lead times, good domestic supply and unpredictable changes in the safeguard extension,” a distributor source said.

HRC offers were heard from Indian and Vietnamese mills at Eur650-660/mt CIF Antwerp for April-May shipment.

Platts assessed the price of imported HRC in Northwest Europe down Eur6/mt on the day at Eur649/mt CIF Antwerp Feb. 15.

In South Europe, tradable values have also been reported at Eur730/mt ex-works Italy and near-term tradable values – at Eur750/mt ex-works Italy.

Platts assessed domestic prices for hot-rolled coil in South Europe stable on day at Eur730/mt ex-works Italy on Feb. 15.

Import offers in the region have been heard at Eur615-620/mt CIF Italy from Vietnam, with the delivery in the third quarter. Offers from India have been heard at Eur630-640/mt CIF Italy and from South Korea – at Eur680/mt CIF Italy.

Platts assessed prices for imported hot-rolled coil in South Europe stable on day at Eur629/mt ex-works Italy Feb. 15.

Author Maria Tanatarmaria.tanatar@spglobal.comRituparna