EU steel sections prices remain firm amid summer lull

European domestic steel sections prices remained stable on week to July 28, as mills continued to hold offers at elevated levels.

S&P Global Platts’ European medium sections price (category 1, S235 JR) was assessed at Eur1,050/mt delivered July 28, unchanged on week.

“The lowest available price is Eur1,050/mt delivered, but it’s a high price to buy at in a quiet holiday market,” a distributor in the Benelux region said. “Prices are relatively high, so I don’t see much more upside.”

Some European mills were heard to target Eur1,080-1,100/mt delivered for August shipment, while one German mill was heard to offer as high as Eur1,150/mt delivered for September shipment.

One European producer said deals had been confirmed at Eur1,050/mt delivered but that they would not be “surprised if someone tried to offer Eur1,100/mt even though the market is quiet.”

A second distributor source noted that domestic lead times remain around 4-6 weeks, with some mills undergoing a longer summer maintenance period than usual.

Turkish import offers for category 1, S235 JR material were heard to be much cheaper than domestic material at Eur850-900/mt delivered, but for delivery in October and November. This would mean the material would be cleared for the fourth quarter of the EU steel import safeguard quota, with the long lead time considered unattractive for distributor sources.

The EU import quota for non-alloy and other alloy merchant bar and light sections of Turkish origin for Q3 totaled 65,582.60 mt and was already exhausted by July 13. The Q4 2021 quota has the same tariff-free volume.

— Viral Shah