European HRC buyers looking at imports as domestic market quietens

The European hot-rolled market continued its summer lull with some slight weakening due to an absence of spot trading activity, sources told S&P Global Platts July 30.

Although domestic European spot activity is quiet, buyers were heard looking toward imports, with one cold-roller reporting offers ex-Turkey at Eur975-980/mt CIF Antwerp, slightly lower than earlier in the week when he bought material.

The problem import buyers are facing is the risk of a 25% duty that will need to be paid once the material is customs cleared and the quota filled and the cold-roller source said they were likely to store the material at the port until the next quota period.

According to EU Customs data July 30, the current quota balance for Turkish HRC stood at 156,433 mt, with 47% of the initial balance remaining. Material waiting to be allocated was at 1,218.7 mt.

An Italian supplier said import offers for large volumes would be offered as low as Eur900/mt CIF Italy.

While Germany remains hampered by damages to rail tracks in the Ruhr area due to flooding, one source said there might be some temporary solution to the rail tracks in the next few weeks.

“It’s just impossible to transport anything, that is the main problem,” said a source.

Thyssenkrupp confirmed to Platts July 29 that the force majeure was still on-going due to transport issues, as is the case with most companies that have been severely hit by the effects of flooding. NLMK La Louviere lifted its force majeure, which was caused by a fire.

The daily Platts assessment for HRC on an EXW Ruhr basis was assessed at Eur1,165/mt, down Eur5/mt on-day July 30, while the EXW Italy assessment was assessed at Eur1,060/mt, down Eur3/mt.

— Laura Varriale