European HRC prices mainly flat, mills target increases for Q1

European hot-rolled coil producers expect prices to rebound in the first quarter of 2023, while buyers are less optimistic, Fastmarkets heard on Wednesday December 7. Fastmarkets calculated its daily steel HRC index, domestic, ex-works Northern Europe at €626.88 ($657.70) per tonne on Wednesday, down by €2.50 from €629.38 a day earlier.

The latest calculation of the index is up by €5.63 week on week, but down by €23.54 per tonne month on month.

Both buyers and producers largely believe that a price floor has been reached. Some mills started to adjust their offers for January-February rolling coil upward at the end of last week.

Notably, the price idea from most mills for February-rolling HRC was no lower than €650 per tonne EXW.

Buyers, however, estimated trades would take place between €610 per tonne EXW and €650 per tonne EXW, depending on the tonnage and specifications.

“The market is a bit more active this week [and] there are fewer import offers available. And on top of that, more mills are shutting down blast furnaces and rolling mills. So, the availability of HRC will be reduced,” a buyer said.

HRC offers from an Italian producer to the south of Germany were heard at €670-680 per tonne CPT, compared with €650-660 per tonne CPT last week.

Buyers said they had doubts regarding a recovery in consumption early next year.

Additionally, some distributors still have stock that they bought at higher prices and were focused on selling it off.

Fastmarkets’ calculation of its daily steel HRC index, domestic, exw Italy was €624.50 per tonne on Wednesday, down by €3 per tonne from €627.50 per tonne on Tuesday.

The latest calculation of the Italian index is up by €13.67 per tonne week on week, but down by €41.75 per tonne month on month.

Offer from Italian mills were reported at €630-650 per tonne EXW, while buyers’ estimates of tradeable values were at €620-630 per tonne EXW.

Sources said that Italian mills were mainly sold out for January-rolling coil and were offering February-rolling material already.

HRC suppliers from Southeast Asia were mainly out of the market in the week to Wednesday. Sources suggested that overseas HRC sellers might come back to the market with higher offers next year.

India-origin HRC was the only foreign material available in the market. Notably, offers from India late last week were heard at €600-610 per tonne CFR Italy, while starting this week Indian mills were targeting €620 per tonne CFR minimum, sources said.

At the same time, buyers’ estimates of workable prices for import HRC were no higher than €590 per tonne CFR.

Published by: Julia Bolotova