European HRC prices stable amid seasonal slowdown

Trading in the hot-rolled coil market in Europe was close to zero on Friday August 4, mainly due to the seasonal slowdown, although post-holiday producer expectations were said to be cautiously optimistic, Fastmarkets understands.

Fastmarkets’ daily steel hot-rolled coil index domestic, exw Northern Europe was calculated at €645.83 ($706.36) per tonne on August 4, up by €0.83 per tonne from €645.00 per tonne on Wednesday August 3.

The latest calculation of the Northern European index was down by €10.17 per tonne week on week and by €35.63 per tonne month on month.

Firm offers in the region were rare, however, with most major mills preferring to hold back, sources said.

One mill in the region was heard offering November-rolling HRC at around €700 per tonne EXW, which was way above buyer estimates of the tradable level at €630-650 per tonne EXW on Friday.

Another producer was offering HRC with lead times in October at €650 per tonne EXW.

“Some mills have thinner order books, so they are trying to find new orders, but because most customers are on holiday it’s quite difficult for them to book anything,” a trading source in the region said.

Trading was practically non-existent across the European HRC market due to the ongoing summer holiday season, with no change is expected until the end of August at least, sources told Fastmarkets.

In terms of the post-holiday outlook, however, European producers were cautiously optimistic and expect to achieve some upticks in prices, driven by an anticipated increase in apparent steel demand.

In addition, the swift take-up of HRC safeguard quotas in the “other countries” category and by South Korea would serve to exclude the most-competitive import supplier from the market, so European mills also expect to see less pressure on prices from imports.

Fastmarkets calculated its daily steel hot-rolled coil index domestic, exw Italy at €636.25 per tonne on Friday, up by €0.42 from €635.83 per tonne on Thursday.

The Italian index was down by €8.33 per tonne week on week and by €21.67 per tonne month on month.

The market in Italy currently remains in “holiday mode,” sources said, with most mills and buyers still inactive.

Some buyers reported tradable prices for September-October-delivery HRC at €630-640 per tonne ex-works on August 4.

But sources said it was likely that Italian mills will try to push for higher prices after the summer stoppages.

“European mills hope that a lack of cheaper imports will help them to regain bargaining power in September,” a trading source in Southern Europe told Fastmarkets.

Published by: Julia Bolotova