European HRC prices flatten despite mills’ bullish attempts at rises

European steel hot-rolled coil prices have stabilized on limited market activity, with output cuts expected to have a delayed effect on the market, sources told Fastmarkets on Tuesday October 24.
Domestic prices for HRC across Europe were broadly flat on October 24, despite mills’ push for increases.

In Northern Europe, integrated mills were pushing offers toward €635-645 ($674-685) per tonne ex-works for HRC, with lead times of four to six weeks.

Market sources pointed out, however, that some German producers were delaying order deliveries.

At the same time, buyers’ estimates of tradeable values were no higher than €600-620 per tonne ex-works.

One source reported hearing a transaction at less than €600 per tonne ex-works in the region, but this was not confirmed by other sources.

“Cost-wise, HRC prices should be no lower than €640 per tonne ex-works,” a mill source told Fastmarkets.

“The problem,” a steel service center said, “is that mills still have December- and even November-delivery HRC which nobody needs. Buyers will start restocking for January-delivery somewhere around November.”

Several sources suggested that larger distributors were postponing purchases until a major industry trade fair in Stuttgart, Germany, in early November.

Fastmarkets calculated its daily steel hot-rolled coil index, domestic, exw Northern Europe, at €611 per tonne on October 24, up by €1 per tonne from €610 per tonne on October 23.

But the index was down by €7.57 per tonne week on week and by €18.79 per tonne month on month.

Output cuts by some steelmakers in Europe in recent weeks have yet to have an effect on the market.

“It is likely that we will see some spikes in apparent steel demand in the first quarter [of 2024], and then the tighter supply will support price rises,” a trading source said. “So far, the HRC market is rather oversupplied.”

In Southern Europe, meanwhile, Fastmarkets’ daily steel hot-rolled coil index, domestic, exw Italy, was €600 per tonne on October 24, down by €2.50 per tonne from €602.50 per tonne the previous day.

The index was up by €7.29 per tonne week on week but down by €18.54 per tonne month on month.

Offers of HRC for November-December delivery from local mills in Italy were heard at €620-630 per tonne ex-works, while buyers’ estimates of the tradable price were reported at €580-600 per tonne ex-works.

But mills were reluctant to sell for less than €600 per tonne ex-works, sources said.

Market sources indicated slightly better activity in Italy, with some distributors and steel service centers feeling the need to restock, but “nothing was booming,” Fastmarkets heard.

Asia-origin HRC imports for January shipment were on offer to Italy at around €580-600 per tonne CFR, mainly from Vietnam, South Korea and Japan, stable week on week.

Published by: Julia Bolotova