EU prime mill hot-rolled coil offers converge toward lower levels

The EU coils market softened further April 13, with prime EU mills heard relaxing offer levels and trading limited grades of material.

A service center source confirmed a reduction in offer levels from prime mills.

“We are indeed seeing a softening in prices, tier one mills are at around Eur1,350/mt – prices have definitely moved down from the Eur1,400 mid-point we’ve been seeing the last few weeks,” the service center source said.

When asked about a future price direction, the source described the situation as complicated.

“Energy costs are sky-rocketing, and many EU mills are still dependent on iron ore and carbon coal from Russia,” the same source said. “New sanctions have blocked that supply from August, so they are now reworking supply chains which will have an impact on price – but these negotiations don’t happen overnight.”

A distributor source reported deals heard from prime mills at Eur1,350/mt, predicting further reduction in prices.

“Prices will need to correct, there is much cheaper material available from China, for example,” the distributor said. “Some are thinking of importing from China and incorporating the full dumping duty, as even then costs are competitive with current domestic levels.”

However, a second service center source stressed that EU standards precluded a full substitution of European mills for foreign import alternatives.

“Much import material cannot match European mill offerings on quality and specific grades — higher grade, certified material is not so easy to substitute,” the second service center source said.

In South Europe, prices continued to soften, with offers heard at Eur1,280/mt-Eur1,300/mt on the day. Transactional activity remained reduced, with one trader citing the price gap between imported and domestic offers as a major factor restricting willingness to restock.

Hot-rolled coil ex-works Ruhr was assessed at Eur1,350/mt on the day, and HRC in South Europe was assessed at Eur1,280/mt ex-works Italy.

— Benjamin Steven