Quiet trading continued in the European HRC market. Producers were said to have good order books for the first quarter of the year and therefore were keeping their offers high.
Notably, April-delivery HRC was offered by integrated mills in Northern Europe at €760-800 ($828-871) per tonne ex-works, with one supplier looking for €800-820 per tonne ex-works.
Some producers were reported to still be able to offer March-delivery HRC, however.
“Mills paint a slightly brighter picture when it comes to order books,” a buyer source said.
Tradable values were estimated by buyers at €730-760 per tonne ex-works, with deals reported within that range in Germany and the Benelux area.
As a result, Fastmarkets calculated its daily steel hot-rolled coil index, domestic, exw Northern Europe, at €746.88 ($813.54) per tonne on Tuesday, up by only €0.63 per tonne from €746.25 per tonne on January 22.
The index was up by €16.25 per tonne week on week and by €51.38 per tonne month on month.
Some sources suggested that reduced supply due to output cuts will keep prices flat in the near term, compensating for the lack of real demand, while further rises were unlikely.
“The price is not really the question; demand is the main question, and the outlook for end-user sectors for 2024 is quite depressing,” a steel service center in Germany told Fastmarkets. “I don’t see how we can pass on higher prices in the secondary market.”
Fastmarkets calculated its daily steel hot-rolled coil index, domestic, exw Italy, at €736.25 per tonne on Tuesday, up by €0.70 per tonne from €735.55 per tonne on January 22.
The index was up by €14.58 per tonne week on week and by €47.92 per tonne month on month.
One integrated mill in the country was said to be offering €760 per tonne ex-works for March-delivery coil. Another supplier was said to be hoping to get €780 per tonne delivered (€765 per tonne ex-works).
But buyers estimates of tradable prices were no higher than €750-760 per tonne delivered (€735-745 per tonne ex-works).
Some market sources, however, suggested that target offer prices could be achieved in February spot trading, given the lack of suppliers active in the market.
On buyer said that most competitive Asia-origin HRC supplies were “tricky to book due to insurance problems.”
“My insurance company refused to secure insurance for cargoes coming through the Red Sea,” another buyer in Southern Europe said.
He added that some Asian mills have started to reduce their offer prices due to weak domestic demand, but that problems with insurance were putting a limit on buying interest.
Notably, HRC from Vietnam was heard offered to Italy at €630-640 per tonne CFR for April shipment.
Taiwan, South Korea and Japan were heard to be offering HRC to Europe at €650-670 per tonne CFR, for March-April shipment.
Indian mills were heard offering coil to Italy at €670-690 per tonne CFR.
And a booking of Egypt-origin coil was heard to Italy at $710 per tonne CFR late last week.
Published by: Julia Bolotova