EU HRC market sentiment turns gloomy on high stocks, poor demand

European hot-rolled coil market witnessed bearish sentiment Aug. 17 due to weak demand from end consumers and high stocks with distributors.

Some market participants expect that September would bring further price decreases instead of traditional restocking and price recovery.

“Risks of prices continuing to decrease are higher than the possibility that they would see a recovery, unfortunately,” a Northern European distributor said. “Distributors have high inventories, and they will not need more material soon, probably not until next year.”

In addition, demand from end consumers, including automotive and white goods industries, remained muted.

Availability of flat steel from the EU steelmakers is likely to continue to exceed the demand, sources said. Production cuts and furnaces stoppages across Europe have not been sufficient to bring balance to the market and to support the prices.

“European mills are desperately looking for orders and September might be another crash, though I don’t hope so,” a Northern European service center source said.

Platts assessed hot-rolled coil in Northwest Europe stable at Eur750/mt ex-works Ruhr Aug. 17.

Three distributors estimated tradable value at Eur750/mt ex-works and a trader reported achievable prices at Eur740-750/mt ex-works Ruhr. A fifth source reported offers at Eur750-800/mt ex-works Ruhr.

In the Southern market, the Platts HRC assessment also remained stable at Eur720/mt ex-works Italy.

Market participants reported tradable value for HRC from Italian mills at Eur710-720/mt ex-works.

Platts is part of S&P Global Commodity Insights.

— Maria Tanatar, Benjamin Steven