EU hot-rolled coil market was in a wait-and-see mode March 29, as buyers stepped back from the market, anticipating price reductions.
In Northern Europe, a service center source reported mill offers at Eur1,450-1,500/mt ex-works — describing a quiet market.
“Nothing’s moving, the German market has stopped acting with prices at these levels.”
A second service center source reported tradable value at Eur1,400/mt ex-works, though confirmed attempts from mills to move offers higher.
“There is very little activity on the market. Some mills are trying to achieve a bit more, but it seems difficult at the moment.”
In the South, a distributor source reported similar sentiment from buyers, with resistance to further price increases.
“There’s no real change in price yet. I think mills are at the point where there is no room to increase prices further, but they also are not ready to lower offers yet.”
The source considered the import market an increasingly viable alternative due to competitive prices and lead times.
“Import offers are much more readily available now, people are unlikely to pay around Eur200 more just to buy domestically.”
Offers for hot-rolled coil from China were heard at Eur1,200/mt, DDP Italian ports. Import offers reported for cold-rolled coil were also competitive at Eur1,250-1,300/mt, CIF Italian ports ex-Korea.
The HRC to CRC spread was heard as reduced on the day, with CRC offers heard from one buyer source at only a Eur50 premium to HRC.
“HRC is under a lot more pressure due to missing slab and hot-rolled material from the CIS area — CRC prices are much closer to HRC than usual,” said a northern buyer source.
Platts assessed North European HRC stable at Eur1,412.5/mt ex-works Ruhr March 29, and South European HRC at Eur1,375/mt ex-works Italy, down Eur5.
— Benjamin Steven