European HRC in stalemate, demand improves further in South

European HRC prices remained stable Oct 21, with some slight increases in Italy after a deal was confirmed at Eur930/mt ex-works Italy. One Benelux-based source said it was likely we would see an increase in Q1 dependent on the viability of demand. Demand was still rather tepid, with more availability seen on hot-rolled coil versus cold-rolled coil and hot-dip galvanized, sources told S&P Global Platts.

Platts assessed North European HRC prices stable at Eur1025/mt ex-works Ruhr and in southern Europe, the price was assessed up Eur2/mt to Eur927/mt ex-works Italy Oct. 21.

“Everyone that is quiet is searching for demand and orders,” the same source said. “Demand is rather slow, but there is more material of every coil comparable to a month ago.”

On imports, the same source had heard of production problems in China and India due to energy costs, with the likelihood they would close some production lines for a several days.

Several mills across Europe have also been contending with returned orders initially promised to the automotive sector, leading to a glut of material in Italy.

Prices for HRC were heard between Eur1000-1025/mt ex-works Ruhr, and for CRC and HDG prices were heard between Eur1160-1200/mt ex-works Ruhr.

As productivity is set to increase in Q1, the market remains mixed about pricing direction, with some expecting stability, and some seeing the availability situation translating to lower prices.

As energy costs continue to rise, there has been a spark of bullish pricing sentiment from those who expect the cost of producing steel to increase, with uncertainty about how mills will be able to manage the cost of electric arc furnace (EAF) production for the future.

— Amanda Flint