European HDG prices stable as auto manufacturers postpone volumes to Q1

European hot-dipped galvanized steel prices were heard stable Oct. 13 as weakening automotive demand amid short supply has market participants uncertain about pricing development, sources told S&P Global Platts.

“There is no supply, not much material available,” an Italian trader said, adding that there was demand but also a fear of buying at the wrong price. “If mills could give stability, it would be easier for people involved in the supply chain.”

Italy was “more flexible with prices,” a European service center source said. With automotive manufacturers still not taking previously agreed volumes, buyers were looking to discuss reductions.

According to the same Italian trader, the gap between cold-rolled coil and HDG was widening to about Eur30/mt, with prices heard at around Eur1,160/mt ex-works Italy for CRC and HDG at Eur1,190-1,200/mt ex-works Italy.

One market-leading European mill was heard to not be considering prices below Eur1,200/mt ex-works Italy for either product, though sources were convinced for larger orders the producer would be willing to make discounts for Eur10-20/mt ex-works.

Meanwhile, one European mill still had some capacity for December, having finalized a deal for 400 mt of HDG at Eur 1,250/mt ex-works Ruhr.

While some mills had some HDG capacity, service centers and stockholders were having to postpone orders because of untaken automotive volumes

“Auto has no signals of recovery,” an Italian service center source said. “We are just receiving requests from automotive for postponing delivery we are supposed to be shipping in the next few months. [Automotive] is asking to shift from February/March rather than November. We have to manage the situation.”

— Amanda Flint