European CRC, HDG producers aim for substantial rises but competitive imports

European steelmakers have been aiming for higher prices for cold-rolled and hot-dip galvanized coil due to increasing costs and limited supply, but buyers are holding back and assessing the situation, sources told Fastmarkets on Wednesday January 11.

On Monday, leading European steelmaker ArcelorMittal increased its offer prices for flat steel with lead times in the second quarter of 2024.

In Northern Europe, offers from the mill were heard at €920 ($1,007) per tonne ex-works for CRC and HDG. Lead times for both products were April-May at the earliest, sources said.

Some other integrated steelmakers in the region were also heard to be pushing CRC and HDG offers toward €900 per tonne ex-works, but so far, firm offers were still rare.

An HDG offer from Italy to Germany was heard at €850-870 per tonne delivered for March delivery, several sources said.

That was in sharp contrast with buyer’s estimations of achievable prices ranging between €800 per tonne ex-works and €820 per tonne ex-works for CRC and €800-830 per tonne ex-works for HDG.

“It won’t be possible to get a price staring with ‘9’ for CRC and HDG – the demand is not supportive of it, and for CRC in particular there are still some very competitive import offers, so European mills will struggle to increase prices [for CRC and HDG],” a steel-service center source in Germany said.

“Mils in Europe are negotiating long-term contracts with automakers now, and they are pushing up spot price levels accordingly,” a buyer in Benelux area said.

Fastmarkets’ weekly price assessment for steel cold-rolled coil domestic, exw Northern Europe was €800-820 per tonne on Wednesday, up by €20-30 per tonne from €780-790 per tonne on January 3.

And the weekly price assessment for steel hot-dipped galvanized coil domestic, exw Northern Europe was €800-830 per tonne on Wednesday, up by €10-30 per tonne from €790-800 per tonne seven days earlier.

Subdued end-user demand from the key consumers – construction and automotive – was seen as the main problem for achieving higher prices, sources said.

Besides, for CRC, quite competitive offers from overseas suppliers were available to Europe.

Notably, suppliers from Vietnam, Taiwan, South Korea offered CRC at €750-760 per tonne CFR to Antwerp for March shipment.

Unlike for HRC, there are no such problems with quota allocations for CRC, so buyers in Europe were still looking for overseas bookings.

“Asian CRC is still very competitive in Europe and there are no risks with rapid quota exhaustion as with HRC, so achieving a price rise for CRC, especially if we are talking about commodity grades, will be tricky for European mills,” a trader in Southern Europe said.

Published by: Julia Bolotova