EU HRC supplies at risk from sanctions

Hot-rolled coil in the European domestic market was flat Feb. 24 as steel buyers avoided imports and anxiousness related to Russia’s military invasion of Ukraine put pressure on supplies.

The daily Platts TSI index for HRC for Northern Europe was stable on the day at Eur960/mt EXW Italy, while the daily Platts TSI index for HRC for Italy also remained stable at Eur920/mt.

With uncertainty rampant in the market due to Russia’s military invasion of Ukraine, market participants expressed concerned over potential sanctions.

Sources reported some mills holding orders due to doubts that important raw and semi-finished materials could reach the EU market from the CIS area.

Market participants in the south largely agreed that supply concerns would drive domestic prices upward.

“The market is in standby, waiting for further decisions in the coming days, probably focused on much higher asking prices,” one distributor source said.

An Italian trader source confirmed expectations of an upward price effect.

“I think prices might skyrocket,” another service center source said.

In northern Europe, sentiments on price effects were less united, with the market unsure on price direction, according to one distributor.

The distributor said mills “could afford to wait,” demonstrating less urgency in a market bearing comparative oversupply.

A distributor source said this new wave of panic has accelerated automotive recovery, with steel buyers all at once returning to the market to pick up reserved volumes.

— Benjamin Steven