European HRC prices continue to decline amid lack of demand

European hot-rolled coil prices continued to fall on Tuesday March 26 due to a lack of demand, sources told Fastmarkets, with many buyers still in wait-and-see mode ahead of the Easter holiday in Europe.
Official offers from mills in Northern Europe remained around €700 per tonne ($757.79) ex-works, but producers were willing to grant some discounts for firm bids.

But trading remained limited and no major deals were heard, sources said, who estimated that workable prices were closer to €660-680 per tonne ex-works.

Fastmarkets calculated its daily steel hot-rolled coil index domestic, exw Northern Europe at €667.50 per tonne ($722.60) on Tuesday, down by €7.50 per tonne from €675.00 per tonne on March 25.

The index was also down by €16.46 per tonne week on week and by €51.25 per tonne month on month.

“Demand is not just slow; everything is dead now [with HRC trading],” a steel service center source in Germany told Fastmarkets.

Other factors still having an impact on European HRC prices include lower prices for iron ore and coking coal, along with strong competition from imports.

But imports from some key suppliers in Asia and India are expected to become less competitive in the second quarter, sources told Fastmarkets, because suppliers in those countries are expected to exceed their European import quotas for HRC and would, therefore, be subject to safeguard duties.

In Southern Europe, Fastmarkets’ corresponding daily steel hot-rolled coil index domestic, exw Italy was calculated at €651.67 per tonne on Tuesday, down by €10.83 per tonne from €662.50 on Monday.

The index was down by €17.08 per tonne week on week and by €63.83 per tonne month on month.

The sole Italian supplier kept its official offers of HRC for May delivery at €680-690 per tonne delivered, which nets back to about €670-680 per tonne ex-works.

Even so, no major deals were heard in the market.

Sources estimated tradeable prices at €640-660 per tonne ex-works.

“Confidence in the [Italian HRC] market is still very low,” a buyer source told Fastmarkets, adding that the downtrend in imported HRC prices was not so clear any more.

Offers of Asian material were heard to Italy at €600-610 per tonne CFR.

Offers of HRC to Italy from India specifically were a bit lower at €580-585 per tonne, the buyer source said, adding that India would probably exceed its HRC import quota and would then face safeguard duties.

The source added that India was trying to compensate for that by offering lower prices.

Published by: Darina Kahramanova