European mills offer for Q1; HRC pricing sentiment mostly bearish

North European HRC prices were stable Sept. 13 amid limited transaction activity as buyers remain cautious to book ahead, and mills were in no hurry to seek orders for the rest of the year, with most fully booked, sources told S&P Global Platts.

A German trader said his clients were awaiting further decreases and chose to wait before purchasing, though mills were now fully booked until the end of the year, making the demand story less severe.

One mill source said orders were already being finalized for Q1, with HRC deals closing at Eur1,180/mt ex-works Ruhr, and CRC and HDG bought at Eur1,310/mt ex-works Ruhr, inclusive of carbon surcharge fees.

Overall, sentiment from the buying and trading side was more bearish, with chatter of lower prices and threatening import volumes spilling into the next quota period.

“The signs are pointing toward decreases for the foreseeable future, my money is on constant decreasing prices until the end of October,” a UK-based mill source said. “Despite the proposed production cuts in China, I think there’s still an appetite from Asian rerollers to export to Europe.”

In Italy, a mill source said limited import quota balances were applying pressure on domestic prices.

“I see pressure on HRC but just from imports. I see European mills were stable. Moreover, quota is an issue,” he said.

Imports into Italy were mainly heard from Russia, India, and Turkey at around Eur920-940/mt CIF Italy Ports, duty-paid.

“To buy from Turkey and India now is risky for quota and logistics,” an Italy-based trader said.

Pricing expectations in the market were still mixed, however, with doubts of further price decreases supported by long order books and delivery delays from mills, as well as strong service center demand and import duties.

“The quota for the third quarter is full, so there will be a delay, and the question is regarding automotive … when will they restart?” a European service center source said.

— Amanda Flint, Laura Varriale