The HRC price recovery across Europe was mainly being driven by reduced supply resulting from output cuts and some restocking activity, but end-user demand has remained subdued, Fastmarkets heard.
January-rolling HRC was on offer from integrated mills in Northern Europe at €680 ($730) per tonne ex-works. One supplier was reported to be ready to consider €660 per tonne ex-works for larger volumes.
But no trades have been reported at that level yet, even though prices in the spot market have increased recently, supported by limited availability and improved trading.
Transactions for December-rolling HRC were reported at €630-640 per tonne ex-works in the region.
“Buyers are concerned about the sustainability of the [price] uptrend,” a trading source in the Benelux area said. “There is no support from consumption, so [buyers] remain cautious about volumes and do not stockpile.”
On the other hand, some market sources suggested that reduced supply and more expensive imports would support a price increase for first-quarter-rolling HRC.
Fastmarkets calculated its daily steel hot-rolled coil index, domestic, exw Northern Europe at €640 ($687) per tonne on November 7, down by €2.50 per tonne from €642.50 per tonne on Monday November 6.
The index was up by €17.50 per tonne week on week and by €23 per tonne month on month.
In Southern Europe, Fastmarkets calculated its daily steel hot-rolled coil index, domestic, exw Italy at €621.25 per tonne on November 7, down by €6.25 per tonne from €627.50 per tonne on November 6.
The Italian index was also up by €17.50 per tonne week on week and up by €15.28 per tonne month on month.
HRC offers from Italian mills were heard at €640-650 per tonne delivered, which would net back to €625-635 per tonne ex-works.
Several market sources said that mills still had December-rolling HRC available.
But end-user demand has remained weak in the region, although buying has started to pick up since the end of October, with big buyers coming back to the market for restocking.
Output cuts and uncompetitive imports were also supportive of price rises.
“Buying [activity] is not booming, but it is better than it was three weeks ago. All big buyers are back in the market, inquiring for [HRC] tonnages,” a steel service center said.
Overseas suppliers could only offer January-shipment HRC, which would mean February-March arrival.
Only Turkish mills could still offer December shipment, but the offer price of €640-650 per tonne CFR to Italy, duty included, was not considered workable by EU buyers.
A Ukrainian supplier was reported to be out of the market. The most recent offers of Ukraine-origin coil were heard at €600 per tonne CFR to Italy in the second half of October.
The lowest HRC offers were no longer available, with most Asian mills offering HRC to Europe at €610-620 per tonne CFR. But several sources said that, for large tonnages of 30,000 tonnes and more, Vietnamese mills were accepting €590 per tonne CFR to Italy
Published by: Julia Bolotova