EU HRC stable, summer sentiment stymies sales

European hot-rolled coil market activity was dull July 27, with HRC prices stable on the day across the continent despite a more positive sentiment as summer winds down.

Platts assessed HRC in North Europe unchanged at Eur855/mt ex-works Ruhr July 27.

Distribution sources unanimously said Eur850/mt was tradable on the day, while producers said achievable prices were slightly higher at Eur850-Eur860/mt ex-works Ruhr.

A service center source cited an offer at Eur850/mt delivered Benelux ex-Germany. The source said there was an equivalence between delivered and ex-works prices despite estimated delivery costs at Eur20/mt, with German buyers expected to successfully achieve Eur850/mt ex-works in biddings.

A mill was already offering higher in the market at Eur900/mt ex-works Northern Europe, and sources said other mills could announce increases soon.

“Most are predicting an offer increase now or in the very near-term,” said a trader source. “I heard ArcelorMittal are telling some customers to expect a Eur50/mt price rise.”

Market participants expect other mills to follow suit if ArcelorMittal raises its offer level, but no announcements were made on the day.

South Europe HRC was also assessed stable at Eur785/mt ex-works Italy.

Latest offers are at Eur800-Eur820/mt ex-works Italy, according to distribution sources. No new offers were extant in the Italian market with one electric arc furnace producer undergoing scheduled shutdown and an integrated producer not actively offering.

Buyer sources said achievable prices were lower at Eur770-Eur790/mt ex-works, with a producer source agreeing.

Scarce transactional activity present was focused at Eur780-Eur800/mt ex-works, with deals reported by a distributor. “Demand is still low, and buyers are only taking what is desperately needed,” said the source. “Sliding import offers are also pressuring the market and widening the gap between domestic and foreign prices, but buyers aren’t interested in either at the moment.”

Import offers were around Eur690/mt CIF Italy ex-Asia, and Eur720/mt CIF Italy ex-Turkey, duty included, according to sources.

— Benjamin Steven, Maria Tanatar