EU mills expected to increase HRC offers despite limited demand

Author Maria Tanatar,

European steelmakers are expected to increase hot-rolled coil prices in September despite slow demand, sources said Aug. 21.

Trading activity remained limited on the day due to a seasonal slowdown, but the demand was unlikely to increase significantly in September, when both buyers and sellers will resume trading, sources said. As a result, the anticipated rise in offers is unlikely to be successful.

“The mills will try to increase prices, as they usual do when market starts to recover,” a Northwest Europe-based service center said. “But the demand is not strong enough to drive prices up.”

In addition, a large volume of imported HRC — around 500,000 mt, according to estimations of the sources — on the way to the EU and awaiting customs clearance at European ports also put pressure on domestic prices. As a result, the fourth-quarter safeguard quota was expected to be exhausted in a few days after Oct. 1.

Domestic prices were partially supported by production cuts caused by scheduled maintenance at some of the European plants.

Platts assessed domestic prices for hot-rolled coil in Northwest Europe up Eur10 on the day at Eur635/mt ex-works Ruhr on Aug. 21.

Tradable values and deals have been reported at Eur630-650/mt ex-works Northwest Europe.

Platts is part of S&P Global Commodity Insights.