European buyers expect steel CRC, HDG prices to drop on low demand, import pressure

Domestic prices for steel cold-rolled and hot-dipped galvanized coil in Europe were stable to slightly weaker in the week to Wednesday February 21. Buyers were pessimistic in their expectations amid slow demand and competition from imports, industry sources told Fastmarkets.

Firm offers for cold-rolled coil from European mills were rare in the market because producers preferred to produce more higher-value-added HDG instead, market sources said.

“European mills trim CRC production and make more HDG, when import pressure is not so bad,” a buyer source told Fastmarkets.

Buyer sources reported CRC offers around €840 ($907) per tonne delivered (€825-830 per tonne ex-works) from mills in Southern Europe, but pointed out that this price was “completely unworkable.”

Buyers estimated tradeable values at €800-810 per tonne ex-works, expecting prices for CRC in the region to drop to that level in March.

“[The price for] HRC [feedstock for CRC production] is sliding lower, so naturally CRC will follow,” a buyer in Italy said. said.

As a result, Fastmarkets’ price assessment for steel cold-rolled coil, domestic, ex-works Southern Europe, was €810-825 per tonne on Wednesday, stable on-week.

Meanwhile, overseas CRC suppliers came back with lower offers after the Lunar New Year holidays.

CRC from South Korea for April shipment was offered to Southern Europe at €720 per tonne CFR, compared with €740-750 per tonne CFR in late January.

From Japan, offers of CRC for end-April shipment were heard at €730-735 per tonne CFR.

Market sources said that competitive offers from overseas suppliers were also dragging European prices downward.

“Asian suppliers can supply very good quality CRC at competitive prices. European mills cannot compete with them due to their higher costs of production,” a buyer in Spain said.

In the HDG market, competition from imports was not so sharp, sources said. Overseas mills were unable to supply the full range of grades and dimensions required by European buyers, so the majority of demand for HDG in Europe was supplied by local mills, sources told Fastmarkets.

The low demand from the major end-user sectors, automotive and construction, remained the key issue in the market.

HDG offers from Southern European producers were heard at €850-870 per tonne per tonne delivered (€840-860 per tonne ex-works) for HDG, with some mills in the lberian market said to be accepting €840 per tonne delivered for bigger volumes.

Buyers’ estimates of tradeable values for HDG were no higher than €840-850 per tonne delivered.

April delivery was still said to be available from local mills.

As a result, Fastmarkets’ price assessment for steel hot-dipped galvanized coil, domestic, ex-works Southern Europe, was €840-850 per tonne on Wednesday, down by €5 per tonne from €845-855 per tonne seven days earlier.

New offers from Vietnamese suppliers of 0.5mm HDG with Z100 coating were reported at $870-880 per tonne CFR to Southern Europe, down by $10 per tonne compared with end-January offers.

Vietnamese mils were offering end-April-early May shipment.

Published by: Julia Bolotova