Fastmarkets calculated its daily steel hot-rolled coil index domestic, exw Northern Europe at €686.50 ($738.78) per tonne on December 12, up by only €0.50 per tonne from €686.00 per tonne on the previous day.
The index was up by €9.00 per tonne week on week and by €33.83 per tonne month on month.
Offer prices for February-delivery coil were heard at €700-720 per tonne ex-works from integrated mills in the region and at €685 per tonne ex-works from a reroller.
But sources said that mills in Germany were still selling only limited tonnages of HRC at €690-695 per tonne ex-works to fill order books.
Alternatively, some integrated mills were reportedly fully booked until March and therefore had a limited room for negotiations, not accepting bids below €700 per tonne ex-works.
Tradeable values were reported by buyers at €680-700 per tonne ex-works.
“Some mills in the north are fully booked until March, mainly because of output limitations,” a trading source said.
Market sources believe that further price rises would only be possible if domestic supply remains limited.
“Demand [from the end-user side] is not rising, so the major driver for prices is reduced supply. If we see blast-furnaces reignited in Q1, the uptrend most likely won’t continue into Q2,” a steel service center source in Germany said.
There was market chatter about new offers for February-March delivery HRC from one of the leading European steelmakers at €750 per tonne delivered. Notably, several sources in Central Europe have reported receiving such offers, while buyers in the Southern and Northern Europe did not confirm receiving new offers yet.
Meanwhile, Fastmarkets calculated its daily steel hot-rolled coil index domestic, exw Italy at €672.29 per tonne on December 12, up by €3.96 per tonne from €668.33 per tonne on the previous day.
The index was up by €7.29 per tonne week on week and by €42.29 per tonne month on month.
Trading was also slowing down ahead of a holiday in Italy, with very little activity reported in the spot market recently.
“Buyers have mostly secured volumes for January and are not in a hurry for now,” a trader in the nation said.
Offers for February-delivery HRC from local suppliers were heard at €720 per tonne delivered (around €705 per tonne ex-works).
Meanwhile, buyers’ estimates of achievable prices were heard at no higher than €660-680 per tonne ex-works.
Slow consumption was also one of the key concerns for the Italian market. Notably, sources pointed out that reduced supply, caused by output cuts and uncompetitive imports, was supporting the bullish trend while real demand was quite slow.
“Everyone is only buying hand-to-mouth. People are not sure if the current prices can be sustained next year,” a buyer told Fastmarkets.
Import HRC offers were stable on December 12 from a day earlier, while long lead times and safeguards-related risks were limiting interest for overseas coil.
At the same time, prices for overseas HRC also rose with some suppliers making offers in line with European mills, while lead times were between three and four months for imports.
From Asian suppliers, offers for February shipment were heard at €640-650 per tonne CFR. But sources said that Vietnam-origin coil could be booked at €635 per tonne CFR.
Offers of February-shipment India-origin HRC were heard at €650-655 per tonne CFR.
February-shipment HRC from Turkey was reported to be available to Italy at €670-680 per tonne CFR, including anti-dumping duties.
Published by: Julia Bolotova