European stainless coils may increase, June negotiations start

European stainless steel hot and cold rolled coil prices continue to be elevated this month and are forecast to remain strong until June, Kallanish hears from market sources.

European stainless CRC levels start from €4,200/tonne ($4,521) and can go up to over €4,400/t delivered depending on the month of delivery. All mills are quoting end-April and May lead times. Mills and large buyers are now beginning to discuss values for June delivery. Supply shortages and high alloy surcharges may push up prices again for June delivery, sources say.

The Asian price decline for stainless coils seen in the past weeks has generated significant import purchases from countries such as China and Taiwan. Including 25% duty, European buyers purchased stainless CRC from China at €3,500-3,550/t cfr on average in January. The issue with Chinese material, however, is the long lead times of mid-July onwards.

Stainless HRC prices in Europe have stopped increasing thanks to competitive import offers from Asia. HRC is being transacted at €3,400-3,500/t delivered in Italy and €3,750-3,800/t delivered in northern Europe, depending on volumes and customer. Imported HRC can be found at €3,100/t cfr from Asia. Italy is a net importer of stainless HRC and Italian prices are usually lower compared to northern European values, Kallanish notes.

Natalia Capra France