EU market find consensus on HRC offer levels

The EU Northern hot-rolled coil market remained unchanged March 24 as mills and service centers alike noticed little change in prices throughout the week.

Offer levels remained firmly at EUR1,400/mt ex-works Ruhr, while buying interest was evident at a subdued rate.

Two service center sources confirmed their highest HRC workable level at Eur1,400/mt EXW Ruhr, while acknowledging existing higher offers in the market; for project-orientated uses, these were considered unprofitable, however.

A mill source said their offers were beginning at Eur1,400/mt EXW Ruhr, and that they would not accept any bids below it. According to the mill source, agreements for HRC were reaching as high as Eur1,500/mt EXW Ruhr on more urgent requirements, yet the highest he had offered was Eur1,470/mt EXW Ruhr for oiled material.

Customers were looking to fulfil contracts, but a second mill source said he was unsure whether they still could fulfill contracts beyond their minimums. He also did not think customers were looking to build inventory, given current price levels, so spot buying was less favorable.

A third mill source said he was allocating a limited volume of coils per week to spot buyers for May or early June delivery, and that longer lead times were off the table as he expected cost pressures to worsen throughout the rest of the year.

The daily Platts TSI for HRC for North Europe was stable at Eur1,425/mt ex-works Ruhr, while HRC in Italy was assessed up Eur20 at Eur1,400/mt ex-works Italy, according to data from S&P Global Commodity Insights.

Overseas buyers offering HRC to Europe an estimated Eur100-Eur200 lower than domestic prices drew little customer interest. A second service center source believed oversea offers to be largely unreliable, with delivery time and final costs considered.

— Catherine Brown