Prices for steel hot-rolled coil across Europe were stable or slightly higher on Wednesday March 15, despite limited trading, with low availability cited as the major market driver, sources told Fastmarkets.
HRC producers in Northern Europe were offering June-delivery HRC at €840-870 ($900-932) per tonne ex-works, sources said.
Earlier in the week, ArcelorMittal increased its European flat-steel prices once again, with new offers for HRC reported at €870 per tonne ex-works and at €990 per tonne ex-works for hot-dipped galvanized coil, effective for June deliveries.
Some buyers in Germany said that tradable values were no higher than €820-830 per tonne ex-works, but producer sources said that such prices were no longer achievable. Transactions were only reported for small tonnages of HRC, at €830-840 per tonne ex-works.
Trading sources from the Benelux area estimated a workable price of €840-850 per tonne ex-works.
Numerous production restarts announced by European mills since January this year have yet to affect the market.
“Mills are managing their capacities wisely, keeping buyers hungry,” a distributor in the region said.
One integrated mill in the Netherlands was reported to be out of the market for technical reasons, sources said.
“Customers of [an integrated mill in the Netherlands] are inquiring with other producers for automotive grades [of HRC],” a trading source said.
Fastmarkets calculated its daily steel hot-rolled coil index, domestic, exw Northern Europe, at €837.92 per tonne on Wednesday, up by €2.42 per tonne from €835.50 per tonne the previous day.
The latest calculation of the index was up by €13.23 per tonne week on week and by €71.04 per tonne month on month.
HRC prices in the region were likely to keep climbing in March, supported by reduced supply, sources said.
In southern Europe, Fastmarkets’ calculation of its daily steel hot-rolled coil index, domestic, exw Italy, was €815.50 per tonne on March 15, up by €2.78 per tonne from €812.72 per tonne on Tuesday.
The latest calculation of the index was up by €20.34 per tonne week on week and by €58.00 per tonne month on month.
Offers were reported at €820-830 per tonne ex-works in Italy, mainly for June-delivery HRC. One supplier was targeting prices as high as €850 per tonne ex-works.
Buyers, meanwhile, reported estimates of tradable values at €800-820 per tonne ex-works.
Imported HRC prices were largely unattractive for European buyers, given long lead times. Notably, offers from Southeast Asia for May-June shipment were reported at €780-790 per tonne CFR.
India-origin HRC was offered at $830-840 per tonne CFR to Southern Europe. A transaction for a limited tonnage of HRC from one Indian supplier was, however, reported at €750 per tonne CFR during the week to March 10, two sources said.
But they added that this offer price was no longer available in the week starting March 13.
Published by: Julia Bolotova