European HRC market stays bullish on full order books, lack of imports

The European hot-rolled coil market remained bullish Jan. 12 due to full order books and a lack of competitive imports.

The absence of real demand concerned some market participants as major steel mills restarted their idled blast furnaces, suggesting higher supplies in coming months.

“The demand in Q1 is unlikely to be any better than what it was in Q4,” an Italy-based service center source said. “I believe there is enough material in the market up to Q2 and prices may not go up to the levels mills are targeting.”

Market participants estimated the short-term tradable value for domestic HRC to touch Eur750/mt ex-works Ruhr. The tradable value for the current spot market was estimated at Eur720-750/EXW Ruhr.

A couple of mills in Northwest Europe made offers for limited volumes of material for March and April shipment at Eur735/mt EXW. This followed an announcement of target prices of Eur800/mt EXW Ruhr earlier in the week to Jan. 12.

Platts assessed the price of domestic HRC stable day on day at Eur730/mt EXW Ruhr Jan. 12.

Interest for imported HRC remained bearish due to geopolitical conditions and safeguard quotas getting exhausted from other countries for the first quarter. Buyers remained hesitant about booking tonnages, which would be subjected to safeguard quotas again in the second quarter, with some of them concerned about the volume getting exhausted in Q1.

“Import is not a favorable option anymore due to safeguard quota exhaustion and the Red Sea situation,” a trader said.

Japanese and Indonesian mills made offers for May-arrival imported HRC at Eur690-700/mt CIF Antwerp.

Platts assessed the price of imported HRC up Eur10/mt day on day at Eur680/mt CIF Antwerp Jan. 12.

Author Rituparna Nathrituparna.nath@spglobal.comMaria