European HRC rises marginally as prices find a ‘floor’

The European hot-rolled coil market increased marginally Nov. 29, as market participants said prices found a floor and are expected to see an uptrend in the near term.

Platts assessed North European HRC up Eur5/mt on the day at Eur610/mt ex-works Ruhr.

North European tradable value was cited at Eur610/mt ex-works Ruhr, based on offers around Eur630/mt delivered North Europe.

A mill source said they were successful at Eur630/mt delivered price and saw a substantial rise in demand in the week ended Nov. 25.

“We really see a change in the market this week,” said the source. “We’ve sold more this week and last than in the last three months. Offers for December production are gone and prices for January and beyond are higher. It’s too early to bet on a price increase sticking but at least it seems the floor is there.”

The source said weakness in the Eastern European market and successful price increases in Italy are aiding the North European market.

HRC prices in Italy were assessed up at Eur610/mt ex-works Italy and at parity with North European levels.

Traders welcomed the increase because of a perceived unviability of imported material.

“Prices just don’t work at the moment for import as domestic producers are so competitive,” said a trader. “The market was quite bullish on imports last week, so we sold some good tonnages, but lead times are into March-April now which is too far for many buyers.”

Imported HRC in the South European market was assessed at Eur605/mt CIF Nov. 29, based on offers heard at Eur610/mt CIF Italy ex-India.

While many participants booked expecting that import material prices would increase with the domestic market, negative sentiment from the Chinese market tempered bullish expectations.

“Demand was good, but now with the Chinese protests and COVID closures, we’re no longer confident import prices will increase,” said a trader. “That said, we’re almost sure they won’t move further down.”

Platts is part of S&P Global Commodity Insights.

— Benjamin Steven