European mills increase CRC, HDG offers despite limited demand

European steelmakers have increased official offers for cold-rolled and hot-dipped galvanized coil in the week to Dec. 14 despite weak interest from buyers.

The price rise is much needed to cover production costs of the downstream coil, which jumped after energy prices rose, sources said.

Low demand from end-consumers, including the automotive industry, as well as from distributors, combined with competitive import offers for CRC made it hard for the mills to achieve targeted prices.

Platts assessed domestic CRC prices in Northern Europe at Eur740/mt ex-works Ruhr Dec. 14, up Eur10/mt day on day and up Eur20/mt week on week.

The assessment was based on tradable values reported at Eur720-760/mt ex-works Ruhr.

“CRC is the weakest market segment now,” a German service center source said. “It seems that demand from the automotive industry will drop by at least 30% compared to normal rates, and competitive import offers do not allow European steelmakers to push prices up.”

Although import offers of CRC have increased, they remain competitive compared with a targeted level of the EU mills heard at around Eur800/mt ex-works.

Platts assessed prices for imported CRC at Eur720/mt ex-works Ruhr Dec. 14, up by Eur30/mt day on day. The assessment reflected offers heard in the market.

The assessment for domestic CRC in the south of Europe increased by Eur20/mt week on week to Eur740/mt ex-works Italy.

Tradable values have been heard at Eur700-780/mt ex-works Italy.

The situation has been slightly better in HDG segment mainly due to the absence of cheap import alternatives.

Spot buyers, however, have been showing limited interest in purchasing due to limited end-user demand. In addition, European steelmakers and big end-consumers, such as the automotive industry, still have not reached an agreement on prices for next year’s contracts.

Platts assessed domestic HDG in northern Europe at Eur760/mt ex-works Ruhr Dec. 14, up by Eur10/mt week on week.

Achievable prices have been reported at Eur750-770/mt ex-works Ruhr and offers at Eur800/mt ex-works Ruhr.

The assessment for domestic HDG in Southern Europe increased by Eur20/mt week on week to Eur760/mt ex-works, reflecting tradable values reported at Eur750-800/mt ex-works and offers reported at Eur800/mt ex-works.

Platts is part of S&P Global Commodity Insights.

— Maria Tanatar