EU mills maintain higher HRC offers due to healthy order books

European mills held on to higher offer levels for domestic hot-rolled coil on Dec. 6 despite weak real demand due to healthy order books and a lack of competitive imports.

“Major mills in the south are sold out for January and are now offering for February. There is no real demand, but prices are being supported by the lack of imports,” an Italian service center source said.

Market participants were pessimistic in the short-term real demand outlook. They also said that the restarting the blast furnaces idled earlier would further add to availability, which is unlikely to keep supporting prices. Due to those factors the buyers preferred to buy smaller volumes and have been unwilling to build stocks.

German mills have been offering HRC at Eur700-720/mt ex-works Ruhr and a Northwest European steelmaker had limited volumes still available at Eur670/mt ex-works.

Limited deals heard with one source reporting a deal at Eur680/mt ex-works Ruhr.

Platts assessed the price of domestic hot-rolled coil stable on the day at Eur680/mt ex-works Ruhr Dec. 6.

Buyers have been showing little interest in imported coil due to longer lead times and concerns about exhaustion of safeguard quotas.

“The major destinations for import are Japan, South Korea and Taiwan and there are not many offers from there and also concerns about lead times. The offers from Turkey also are too high and seeing not much interest,” a service center source said.

Offers from Turkish mills including anti-dumping duties were reported at Eur670-680/mt CIF Antwerp. Asian mills made offers at Eur630-640/mt CIF Antwerp.

Platts assessed the price of imported HRC in Northwest Europe down Eur5/mt on the day at Eur635/mt CIF Antwerp.

Author Rituparna Nath, Maria Tanatar