European mills continued to offer HRC in the range of €700-740 ($764-808) per tonne ex-works for February-March delivery. But market activity was seen as gradually slowing due to the approaching Christmas holidays and no major deals were heard.
According to a producer source, the workable market level for Northern Europe varied in the range of €700-710 per tonne ex-works.
But buyer sources estimated the workable level to be lower, between €680 per tonne and €695 per tonne ex-works.
Thus, Fastmarkets calculated its daily steel hot-rolled coil index domestic, exw Northern Europe at €690.42 per tonne on December 19, decreasing slightly by €2.71 per tonne from €693.13 per tonne on December 18.
The index was up by €3.92 per tonne week on week and by €32.50 per tonne month on month.
Market participants told Fastmarkets that prices could increase further in Northern Europe in the first quarter of 2024. But this might be hard to achieve if more blast furnaces restart operations next year and supply increases.
Meanwhile, offers in the Italian market remained unchanged in the range of €685-725 per tonne ex-works, depending on the supplier.
Two buyer sources estimated the workable level in the range of €670-680 per tonne ex-works. But a third buyer source indicated that a slightly higher level can be achieved, reaching €685-695 per tonne ex-works.
A fourth trading source told Fastmarkets that he estimated the workable level at €705 per tonne ex-works.
In Southern Europe, Fastmarkets calculated its corresponding daily steel hot-rolled coil index domestic, exw Italy at €686.25 per tonne on December 19, increasing by €0.42 per tonne from €685.83 per tonne on December 18.
The Italian index was up by €13.96 per tonne week on week, and up by €43.33 per tonne month on month.
A fifth trader source told Fastmarkets that buyers would have to accept the new prices after the holidays. The reason for that is the limited offering in the Italian market.
The source added that the European producer with the highest prices offered a larger range of products. Thus, buyers who needed products covering particular specifications would have no choice but to pay higher after the holidays.
Regarding imports, very few offers were currently available in the Italian market. “Some offers from Japan and Taiwan were heard at $660 per tonne CIF for March shipment and expected delivery in May”, the fifth source said.
According to them, “slightly lower offers were heard from India” for shipment in February.