EU HRC stable amid support from gradual demand recovery

Domestic hot-rolled coil in Europe was unchanged July 22, supported by distributors’ increased restocking activity.

Platts assessed HRC in Northern Europe at Eur860/mt ex-works Ruhr July 22, stable day on day, according to S&P Global Commodity Insights data.

Deals have been heard at Eur860-870/mt ex-works Ruhr, with the majority of transactions made at the lower end of the range. Market sources estimated tradable value at Eur850-860/mt ex-works Ruhr. And one steelmaker has been offering HRC at Eur900/mt ex-works Northern Europe.

HRC in South Europe was assessed at Eur785/mt ex-works Italy July 22, unchanged day on day, according to S&P Global data.

Both transactions and achievable prices have been reported at Eur780-800/mt ex-works Italy. Official offers from Italian mills have been heard at Eur800-820/mt ex-works.

In the second half of July, trading activity has started to recover across Europe as buyers resumed purchases to restock after about three months of low activity and declining prices. In addition, the automotive segment has seen higher demand for steel, although consumption rates remained below normal because of continuing issues with components shortages, sources said.

Longer August maintenances and some steelmaking equipment stoppages also helped to balance supply and demand, and as a result, left the market mood to more positive.

Buyers, however, have been cautious with purchases as they remained uncertain about the price trend for autumn, some market participants said.

“The market outlook is foggy, the price recovery has just started, but maintenances and traditionally slow August is about to start,” an Italian source said. “And buyers are cautious with their purchases planning. There is indeed higher demand, but it is still below normal. Prices for finished goods, downstream, pipes, also limit the HRC price rise.”

Prices for imported HRC from Asia have moved down as suppliers looked for orders. European buyers, however, have been showing limited interest in overseas coil due to long lead times.

In Northern Europe, offers of HRC from Taiwan have been reported at Eur720-730/mt CFR Antwerp and from Japan at Eur760-770/mt CFR Antwerp, compared with previous offers reported at Eur770-780/mt CFR.

A Turkish steelmaker has been offering HRC in Italy at Eur720-730/mt CFR, including anti-dumping duties. And offers from Japan have been reported at Eur680/mt CFR Italy.

— Maria Tanatar, Benjamin Steven