EU HRC markets enters quiet period; some mills give discounts to achieve deals

Domestic prices for hot-rolled coil across the EU remained largely stable on July 28 as market activity slowed down following traditional yearly cycle.

Some European mills have already started summer maintenance and others are expected to follow soon. Buyers, in the meantime, have also been holding back from new bookings as they prefer to wait until market activity revives in September. In addition, distributors were reported to have sufficient stocks of material.

As a result, the majority of steelmakers have been holding their prices stable to start the traditionally more active September with higher prices.

“There is little activity in the market,” a Northern European distributor said. “Market participants monitor global market and prefer not to make any radical decisions before September. There will not be a shortage of material even with production cuts. But energy costs is a problem and supply could be at risk with current geopolitical situation.”

“Demand has decreased as the market is entering its regular sleepy state during August. And mills have longer maintenances,” an Italian trader said.

Some Northern European producers, however, have been giving discounts in the attempt to spur buyers’ interest in their products.

Platts assessed HRC in North Europe at Eur850/mt ex-works Ruhr July 28, down by Eur5/mt day on day, according to data from S&P Global Commodity Insights.

A trader reported tradable value at Eur840-860/mt ex-works Ruhr.

A distributor reported an offer at Eur845/mt delivered Central Europe from a German mill, the equivalent of Eur800-805/mt ex-works Ruhr taking into the account transportation costs of Eur40-45/mt. Other German producers have not been offering HRC, the source said.

And a service-center source reported tradable value at Eur820-840/mt ex-works Northern Europe.

Some market participants, however, said that the lower prices were available only from one German mill that often cuts prices to sell some volumes fast.

“[The German mill] is one of those mills that are ready to cut prices whenever they have volumes they need to sell, even if it would injure the market,” a trader said.

A trader source reported tradable value higher at Eur900/mt ex-works Northern Europe.

South Europe HRC was assessed stable at Eur780/mt ex-works Italy on July 28.

Few deals have been reported at Eur780-785/mt ex-works Italy. Buyers estimated achievable prices at Eur740-800/mt ex-works Italy and offers have been heard at Eur800-820/mt ex-works Italy.

Import prices have moved down as suppliers from Asia were reported to be looking for orders.

In Northern Europe, offers of HRC from Japan have been reported at Eur700-720/mt CFR Antwerp and from South Korea – at Eur745/mt CFR Antwerp.

In Italy, import offers from Asia have been heard at Eur680-700/mt CFR and from Turkey – at Eur720-730/mt CFR, including anti-dumping duties.

— Maria Tanatar, Benjamin Steven