EU HRC market sees slow activity as mills, buyers show different market outlook

Trading activity in the European hot-rolled coil market remained low on Sept. 26, while steelmakers and distributors showed different views on market fundamentals.

The mood among buyers has been strongly bearish due to high stocks of flat steel they had accumulated as a result of panic buying in the first half of the year following Russia’s attack on Ukraine. Additionally, weaker demand from end consumers added to the bearish mood, and a majority of buy-side sources believed that neither demand nor prices would recover in the short run.

Steelmakers, in the meantime, highlighted that the production cuts and furnaces stoppages across Europe were expected to have a strengthening effect on prices, resulting in more balance supply and demand. Market sources estimated that steelmakers capacities dropped about 20%-25%.

In addition, the automotive industry and some other end consumers have been showing some signs of demand recovery, steelmaker sources said.

“[The] Automotive industry in Germany is not kicking up, but in France and some other countries the demand from carmakers is good,” a Northern European producer said.

Platts assessed hot-rolled coil in Northwest Europe at Eur740/mt ex-works Ruhr on Sept. 24, up by Eur5 day on day.

A Northern European producer reported transactions for HRC done by German mills at Eur720-750/mt ex-works Ruhr.

A trader estimated tradable value at Eur740-750/mt ex-works Ruhr. Another trader said that although official offers from German mills have been as high as Eur800/mt ex-works Ruhr, prices of Eur730-760/mt ex-works were still achievable.

A Southern European producer reported offers at Eur800-820/mt delivered Germany, the equivalent of Eur740-770/mt ex-works Italy.

Platts assessed hot-rolled coil in southern Europe stable on day at Eur750/mt ex-works Italy Sept. 26. The assessment was based on achievable prices heard at Eur740-760/mt ex-works Italy and official offers reported at Eur780/mt ex-works Italy.

Platts is part of S&P Global Commodity Insights.

— Maria Tanatar