Northwestern European buyers keep questioning if prices of more than €900/t ($953) for hot-dip galvanized coil can be achieved by domestic mills, but they have fewer doubts about the more than €800/t called for hot-rolled coil.
Various sources point out that especially steel service centres are cautious about accepting the latest price hikes by the market leader mill, as they are having trouble handing them down to their customers. This would paint galvanized coil as a typical SSC product in particular.
A northern European mill manager concedes that “we have some reluctance from distributors /SSCs to accept, as they see challenges with increasing their resale prices.” Still, he claims that his HDG prices have passed the €900/t mark already “and are very close to €950/t.” Against this stands the word of a manager at a northern fabricator, who tells Kallanish that he still buys HDG below €900/t and HRC below €800/t.
The latter option could be expiring, however, other buyers say.
“For HRC the direction is most clear. Within 2-4 weeks we will see in prices of €800/t+, no doubt about that,” one Dutch manager finds. “Demand is a little increasing and competition is not available at the moment.”
A German SSC buyer confirms that “no mill currently sells for a figure starting with a 7.” He notes that in January lead times stretched to 11 weeks, “which is rather long for straight black material.” This duration has not shortened since, although quite many mills are bringing back idled blast furnace capacity.
He doubts that mills are being kept very busy in terms of order intake.
“Warehouses restocked in January, but there is not enough demand to keep up buying; I myself sell rather little these days,” he cautions.
Christian Koehl Germany