Slow demand from the key end-user sectors — automotive and construction — was a major concern for the market, sources said.
“We expect steel consumption by automotive in 2024 to be 20-30% lower year on year,” a steel service center source in Germany said.
But limited supply due to reduced production and rising input costs were prompting European mills to increase offer prices substantially in early January.
In Northern Europe, offers from integrated mills were heard at €900-920 ($980-1,002) per tonne ex-works for CRC and HDG. Lead times for both products were April-May at the earliest, sources said.
“New offers are out of touch, end-user demand is totally unsupportive of such a massive rise,” a buyer source said.
Buyers’ estimations of achievable prices were at €820-830 per tonne ex-works for CRC and €830-840 per tonne ex-works for HDG.
“After declaring higher offers, mills managed to slowly consolidate previous target levels [for both CRC and HDG],” a second buyer said.
Fastmarkets’ weekly price assessment for steel cold-rolled coil domestic, exw Northern Europe was €820-835 per tonne on Wednesday, up by €15-20 per tonne from €800-820 per tonne a week earlier.
And Fastmarkets’ weekly price assessment for steel hot-dipped galvanized coil domestic, exw Northern Europe was €830-840 per tonne on Wednesday, up by €10-30 per tonne from €800-830 per tonne a week earlier.
Meanwhile, the market situation in Southern Europe was quite similar, with trading being described as “dead” in the region.
Southern European producers were aiming for €870-880 per tonne delivered (€855-865 per tonne ex-works) for CRC and €900-920 per tonne delivered (€885-905 per tonne ex-works) for HDG.
Buyers estimated tradeable values at no higher than €840-850 per tonne delivered for CRC and €850-860 per tonne delivered for HDG.
“Most buyers have sufficient stock and in fact are trying to lower their inventories,” a trading source in Europe said. “My impression is that due to low activity in the construction market and threatening downturn in the automotive sector, nothing spectacular will happen. Besides, high interest rates don’t stimulate investments.
“Until very recently, import offers for CRC from Asia were very competitive, and quite a lot of bookings were made, so that is another obstacle for a domestic price rise,” a buyer in Italy said.
Fastmarkets’ weekly price assessment for steel cold-rolled coil domestic, exw Southern Europe was €825-835 per tonne on Wednesday, up by €15-25 per tonne from €800-820 per tonne the week before.
And Fastmarkets’ weekly price assessment for steel hod-dipped galvanized coil domestic, exw Southern Europe was €830-840 per tonne on Wednesday, up by €10-30 per tonne from €800-830 per tonne the week before.
Import offers for CRC and HDG were also trending higher during the assessment week.
Current CRC import offers were at €735-760 per tonne CFR for CRC, up from €725-740 per tonne CFR earlier in January.
Asian suppliers were offering material for shipment in mid-March to early April, which would mean arrival would be in May-June.
One mill from South Korea was offering CRC to Southern Europe at €760 per tonne CFR.
Another South Korean supplier was offering CRC to Italy at €735 per tonne CFR.
A Japanese mill was offering CRC to Italy at €735-745 per tonne CFR.
And finally, Vietnamese suppliers were said to be aiming for $900-930 per tonne CFR for 0.5mm HDG with Z100-120 coating.
Published by: Julia Bolotova