EU HRC prices rise on support from strong orderbooks, uncompetitive imports

Domestic prices for hot-rolled coil in Europe increased on Jan. 13 due to combination of long lead times for both domestic and import coil and rising offers for overseas material.

Platts assessed hot-rolled coil in Northwest Europe up Eur20 day on day at Eur710/mt ex-works Ruhr Jan. 13. The price assessment excludes carbon emission surcharges introduced by some Northern European steelmakers.

Deals were reported at the equivalent of Eur730/mt ex-works Ruhr and at Eur750-760/mt ex-works Northern Europe. Market participants estimated tradable values at Eur720-Eur750/mt ex-works Ruhr, and offers were heard at Eur750-Eur760/mt ex-works Ruhr.

Platts assessed domestic prices for hot-rolled coil in Southern Europe up Eur10 day on day at Eur720/mt ex-works Italy Jan. 13.

Both achievable prices and offers were heard at Eur700-Eur730/mt ex-works Italy.

Some Europe-based steelmakers were reported to have filled order books for first-quarter-rolling HRC, while others have limited availability of March production material. This was caused by effects from extensive production cuts across Europe and by increased restocking activity in December.

“Buyers have started to accept new prices and lower offers have been disappearing from the market,” a Northern Europe-based steelmaker said. “Mills say that they can give April delivery earliest and good order books and absence of competitive import help the price rise.”

Import offers have increased, and this, combined with long lead times for overseas coil, made some buyers show more interest in domestic HRC.

“There are seasonable fundamentals for price increase – domestic production is down by about 25% and import is down by 30%,” a steelmaker said.

Meanwhile, an Italy-based trader said the market was waiting to buy time and get higher prices.

“End user demand is not great, but it is not silent either,” the trader added. “The real consumption is not critically low. And with rising prices and long lead times apparent demand will increase.”

Platts assessed prices for imported hot-rolled coil in Southern Europe up Eur15 on the day at Eur700/mt CIF Italy on Jan. 13.

Offers were reported at Eur680-Eur740/mt CIF Italy.

Platts is part of S&P Global Commodity Insights.

— Maria Tanatar