EU HRC prices stabilize in slow market, outlook uncertain

Domestic prices for hot-rolled coil in both the north and south of Europe were unchanged on Aug. 15 as market activity has been limited.

Tradable value for HRC in Germany has been reported at Eur750-760/mt ex-works Ruhr with majority of sources citing Eur750/mt ex-works Ruhr as an achievable price. Deals had been heard at those prices a week prior.

Platts assessed hot-rolled coil in Northwest Europe at Eur750/mt ex-works Ruhr on Aug. 15, unchanged day on day.

Trading activity in Northern Europe has been slow due to seasonal factors, high inventories of distributors and uncertain outlook among buyers on demand in September.

“There is no clear idea on what the future holds for the market,” a distributor said. “Mood is depressed, the mills need to reduce production and stop dragging prices down. The latest price drop is entirely on European mills, they started to give discounts when everyone though that the market reached bottom.”

The situation has been similar in Italy, but the majority of the country’s mills topped operation for long summer maintenance and another producer temporarily idled furnaces and had limited volumes available for spot buyers.

This, however, did not help to protect prices from decline in Italy, sources said. One producer was reported to sell volumes at low prices to secure sales.

RC in South Europe was assessed stable day on day at Eur720/mt ex-works Italy on Aug. 15.

Market sources estimated tradable value at Eur720-740/mt ex-works Italy. The assessment, however, was left unchanged as the latest deals have been heard at Eur700-720/mt ex-works Italy.

The price decrease from current levels, however, has been questioned by some market sources as steelmakers face rising energy, transportation and emission costs.

— Maria Tanatar