European HRC prices soften amid slowing demand as mills try to hold firm

European HRC prices declined marginally Jan. 13 as market participants reported a wide spread on coils, dependent on volumes relative to each mill. Sources have said they feel the market is in a state of uncertainty, with buyers holding back from purchasing material.

A large European mill announced Eur1,160/mt delivered Europe for North European HDG prices, with a range of Eur20-25/mt for other regions, which would constitute an overall increase of around Eur30-50/mt.

A Nordic buyer source cited a North European HRC tradable value at 920/mt ex-works Ruhr, with tendencies toward Eur900/mt growing closer for some based on a lack of demand.

An Italian mill source said price increases would be possible but was unsure if they would come to fruition.

The source told S&P Global Platts that majority of mills were trying to prevent any decline in price, but whether this was a sustainable option was doubtful.

“Right now, the supply is there but activity is low,” the source added. “… I don’t think buyers are persuaded of new price hikes from mills — it’s not certain for the moment.”

The same source said it was unclear about whether the market would soon strike a balance between supply and demand amid still-sluggish automotive demand.

Platts assessed North European HRC prices down Eur2.50 at Eur922.5/mt ex-works Ruhr, and in Southern Europe, prices remained stable at Eur835/mt ex-works Italy Jan 13.

— Catherine Brown