European HRC market largely inactive in continuing seasonal slowdown; mills to aim for higher prices later in month

The continuing turn-of-year holiday lull has kept European hot-rolled coil prices unchanged so far in January, but producers hope to achieve increases in the coming weeks, sources told Fastmarkets on Thursday, January 4.

Both buyers and sellers continued holding back from trading on Thursday due to the continuing holiday break.

Most buyer sources estimated the HRC price at  €680-700 per tonne ex-works, while others said that spot prices could climb “just slightly above” €700 per tonne ex-works if supplies remain tight.

In northern Europe, offers from integrated mills for February and March delivery were reported at €720-750 per tonne ex-works before the holiday break.

One producer source told Fastmarkets that it was offering March delivery coil at €730 per tonne exw, stressing that this was “the minimum possible level due to high production costs.”

A distributor source said everyone was still on holiday.

“Trading is zero this week. Mills are keeping their offers high, citing strong order portfolio, but we [will soon] see if these offers are accepted in deals,” the source said.

Fastmarkets calculated its daily steel HRC index domestic, exw Northern Europe at €695.00 ($759.89) per tonne on Thursday, edging down by just €0.42 per tonne from €695.42 per tonne on January 3.

The index was down by €0.50 per tonne week on week, but up by €18.33 per tonne month on month.

In Southern Europe, Fastmarkets calculated its daily steel HRC index domestic, exw Italy at €689.58 per tonne on Thursday, stable day on day.

The index was up by €1.25 per tonne week on week and by €19.58 per tonne month on month.

The Italian market was also still in “holiday mode,” sources said, with trading activity not expected to resume until the second week of January.

Target offers from Italian steelmakers for February-March-delivery HRC stood at €720-730 per tonne delivered, while one European steelmaker was offering coil to the nation at €740 per tonne delivered.

Buyer sources estimated the market at €680-690 per tonne ex-works.

Published by: Julia Bolotova