Last week, key integrated steelmakers in Northern Europe issued new offers for April-delivery HRC at €800 ($876) per tonne ex-works. But buyers were still reluctant to accept the new higher prices.
Some deals were heard to be concluded at €740 per tonne ex-works in Northern Europe. But sources pointed out that buyers were mainly booking small tonnages to cover urgent needs.
Buyer sources estimated tradable levels in the range of €710-750 per tonne ex-works.
“Trading is very slow. I do not think the new offer level of €800 per tonne ex-works is workable,” one trader source told Fastmarkets.
“It is difficult to estimate the market now [with the new offers]. It was difficult to conclude deals even at the previous levels at €720-750 per tonne ex-works,” a distributor source said, adding that the higher prices were due to limited availability rather than increased demand.
Fastmarkets calculated its daily steel HRC index, domestic, exw Northern Europe at €731.25 per tonne on Monday, down by €0.63 per tonne compared with €731.88 per tonne on Friday.
The index was up by €25.62 per tonne week on week and by €40.37 per tonne month on month.
Import offers from Taiwan to Northern Europe were heard at €670 per tonne CFR, while offers from South Korea were higher at €745 per tonne CFR.
Offers of hot-dipped galvanized coil were heard from India at €825 per tonne CFR.
The distributor source told Fastmarkets that producers from Vietnam and Taiwan had not fully returned to the European market and their new offers would become clear in the coming days.
In Southern Europe, Fastmarkets calculated its daily steel HRC index, domestic, exw Italy at €722.50 per tonne on Monday, increasing slightly by €0.83 per tonne from €721.67 per tonne on Friday.
The index was up by €31.25 per tonne week on week and by €43.33 per tonne month on month.
Offers were heard on Monday at €780 per tonne delivered, which nets back to about €765 per tonne ex-works.
Market participants estimated the tradable market level in the range of €700-735 per tonne ex-works.
According to a second trader source, even higher levels could be accepted in the future.
“Some HRC products can be bought only from ArcelorMittal [which is offering at the highest levels]. If buyers need these products, they will have no choice,” the second trader source added.
Import offers from India to Southern Europe were heard in the range of €745-750 per tonne CFR, the second trader source told Fastmarkets, adding that some bookings were made last week at these levels.
Even lower offers of HRC from the Asian countries to Italy were heard in the range of €660-670 per tonne for March shipment.
Sources said that the wide gap between Asian and Indian HRC could be explained by issues with quotas. Indian suppliers can get higher prices because there was not such a problem with the quota for India-origin HRC being quickly depleted, as was the case with the “other countries” quota, sources told Fastmarkets.
Vietnam, Japan, Taiwan and Egypt are the major HRC suppliers to the EU under the “other countries” category, with Asian suppliers offering the most competitive prices, according to EU market sources.
Fastmarkets previously reported that around 1.23 million tonnes of HRC in the other countries and regions category were awaiting allocation to enter the EU in the first quarter of 2024, while the quota allowance was 923,594 tonnes, according to EU customs statistics.
In contrast, for the first quarter 2024, the Indian HRC quota of 294,662 tonnes was barely touched with only 8,828 tonnes awaiting allocation as of January 12.