European HRC producers continue pushing up prices

The European hot-rolled coil market was largely quiet on Friday December 1, with new offers from producers not sealed in deals, sources told Fastmarkets.

Fastmarkets calculated its daily steel HRC index, domestic, exw Northern Europe at €670.88 ($733.18) per tonne on Friday, down by €1.62 per tonne from €672.50 per tonne the previous day.

The index was up by €4.21 per tonne week on week and by €48.38 per tonne month on month.

Integrated steelmakers in Europe raised HRC offers to €700-720 per tonne ex-works for February delivery, sources said.

Buyer sources estimated tradable levels at €660-680 per tonne ex-works for HRC in the region. This is in line with transactions for January-delivery material.

Despite cautious buying, most sources agreed that there was still room for price rises in the region due to reduced supply.

“In the new round of sales, we see [HRC] prices climbing to €700 [per tonne ex-works], but I’m not sure about higher values; prices for processed HRC downstream are not really rising,” a trading source told Fastmarkets.

“[The] market feels insecure [because] idled furnaces and rolling lines will come back in to production in the first quarter [of 2024] some people say,” a distributor in the Benelux area said.

“Therefore [there are] no speculations; buyers only send in contracts for what they need and to cover January’s demand. The fact is that contracts these days are booked at levels of €660-680 [per tonne ex-works],” a steel service center source in the region said.

Fastmarkets calculated its daily steel HRC index, domestic, exw Italy at €660 per tonne on Friday, stable day on day.

The Italy index was up by €1.12 per tonne week on week and by €56.25 per tonne month on month.

Trading in Italy has slowed following the price increase announcement from local mills at the end of November.

New offers for February delivery were heard at €700-720 per tonne delivered, but no trades have been reported at that level.

This compares with offers and transactions for January-delivery coil in the nation at €680 per tonne delivered (€660-665 per tonne ex-works).

In the secondary market, prices for HR sheet continued to be reported at €750 per tonne CPT, largely flat week on week.

“It is still hard to consolidate higher prices for HR sheet downstream, so new HRC price increases are unrealistic,” an Italian trader said.

HRC offers from Vietnam, South Korea and Japan were at €620-650 per tonne CFR for February shipments, sources told Fastmarkets.

Offers of January-shipment HRC from Turkey were heard at €670-680 per tonne CFR, including anti-dumping duties.

Published by: Julia Bolotova