EU HRC market activity sluggish as buyers anticipate further price decline

Sentiment in the European hot-rolled coil market remained downward on April 27 and, as a result, buyers have been avoiding bookings.

The majority of European mills have not been offering coil due to the effects of technical issues, scheduled maintenances and full order books. Only a few producers have been able to offer June rolling coil, and the majority have been booked until late August-September delivery, sources said.
As a result, lead times from European mills have been comparable to those from the overseas suppliers. And the downtrend in the Asian coil market had a direct impact on the European prices with competitive import offers.
“There are no real movements in the market,” a South European service-center source said. “Domestic mills are not really offering and the gap between domestic and import prices widens.”
“Main EU mills are not offering, and buyers do not hurry to make deals for import as they believe prices will continue to drop,” a Benelux-based service-center source said.
“Some mills try to offer higher prices, but in reality there is no chance that they would be able to sell above Eur800/mt ex-works Italy,” a trader said. “Demand is not there; customers are skeptical and they will not accept high prices.”
Platts assessed prices for imported hot-rolled coil in Northwest Europe at Eur690/mt CIF Antwerp on April 27, unchanged on day. Offers have been heard at Eur680-700/mt CIF Antwerp for Asian-origin coil.
Platts assessed domestic prices for hot-rolled coil in the region down by Eur20/mt on day to Eur820/mt ex-works Ruhr on April 27.
The assessment was based on tradable values estimated by both buyers and sellers at Eur800-840/mt ex-works Ruhr.
Platts assessed prices for imported material in South Europe at Eur670/mt CIF Italy, stable on day.
Offers of HRC from Asia have been reported at Eur670-700/mt CIF Italy. One source also said that the non-EU mills would accept firm bids at about Eur20/mt below the offer prices.
Platts assessed domestic prices for hot-rolled coil in the region at Eur810/mt ex-works Italy on April 27, down by Eur15/mt on day. The assessment reflected tradable values reported at Eur800-820/mt ex-works Italy.
Author, Maria Tanatar