Europe HRC market more import-reliant due to short domestic supply

European HRC prices were heard to be approaching Eur900/mt April 6, with the market still uncertain of price movement following the Easter holiday, however, sources were confident of further increases in the near-term.

Supply difficulties remain a fixture in a market desperate for more capacity to return, though participants have said it is unclear when ramp-ups will happen, sources told S&P Global Platts.

Pricing clarity was vague, with sources unable to offer precise tradable values due to limited offers from EU mills.

“I am not sure the Eur900/mt will be reached, but mills are quoting this. We are speaking of lead times of September/October and people are in a rush to cover their needs, [paying] not far from the Eur900/mt price,” a Benelux trader said.

Buy-side and distributor sources said they were actively looking at imports, hoping for a respite from the short supply in the domestic market. However, offers have been few and far between from Far East suppliers.

An Italian trader cited HRC prices at Eur820/mt CIF Italy Ports ex-India and Korea, while a Benelux trader also said Eur820/mt CIF Antwerp was possible from Indonesia. For cold-rolled coil, prices were heard between Eur1000-1100/mt CIF Italy Ports and CIF Antwerp from Turkey and India.

“I am always looking for imports – if import restrictions will stay in the market, then there is no reason why [prices] should become weak,” a German distributor source said. “There are few [import] offers and only long lead times for shipment July-August, then winter will come.”

Uncertainties around anti-dumping duties on Turkish material was also making it difficult for European importers, coupled with limited material arriving in from Asia.

“We don’t know if the anti-dumping duty will be applied or not – we’re chasing to see what the possibilities are from the Far East,” the same Benelux trader said.

— Amanda Flint