European HDG prices rise, additional capacity not expected until after summer

The European hot-dipped galvanized market saw further gains leading up to March 10, with supply scarcity and higher offers from mills leaving buy-side customers with little option but to buy back-to-back and accept the higher prices, sources told S&P Global Platts.

North European HDG prices were assessed up Eur22/mt to Eur882/mt ex-works Ruhr March 10, while HDG prices in Italy were assessed up Eur15/mt to Eur880/mt ex-works Italy.

An Italian mill source noted the lack of material in Europe and demand was “pretty strong”, with a lot of demand for Italian material coming from other European markets.

“I have the feeling they are panicking. If you offer some steel at whatever price, it is the trend. I will not be surprised if cold-rolled and hot-dipped galvanized will touch Eur900/mt in the next week or so,” the mill source said.

A German distributor expected the ArcelorMittal target of Eur790-800/mt for HRC to translate to CRC and HDG products.

“It’s all coming from slab and iron ore climbing again,” the source said.

Import prices were heard from Vietnam at Eur900 CIF Antwerp, with expected delivery in September.

The same distributor said there was recovery seen across the automotive, agricultural and white goods industries with very limited offers on the market.

“I don’t see material coming back until after the summer. I expect problems to roll over into Q3,” the distributor source said. “We are not finished yet, mills putting pedal to the medal trying to reach new heights.”

A Benelux buyer was also finding it difficult to commit to orders, following a surge in customer inquiries for HDG.

“People are trying to buy back to back, our biggest business is from stockists. Hopefully [material] will arrive at some point in the summer, it’s a challenge,” the buyer said.

— Amanda Flint