European steel coil lead times extend through Q3

European hot-rolled coil prices were heard slightly higher in the market March 9 as longer lead times and an absence of imports incentivized mills to increase the cost for flat steel, sources told S&P Global Platts.

Higher prices are anticipated among European sources, with inventories expected to dwindle.

“Inventories are decreasing more than the volume of arrival of new material,” a Benelux service center source said. “Stocks are too low and that might have an impact on production.”

A German mill source echoed this sentiment and said inventories would continue to go down, with prices increasing to the “area of what Arcelor Mittal announced,” on Feb. 26.

Lead times for cold-rolled and hot-dip galvanized material were heard for August-September.

“Lead times are the biggest problem. Capacity isn’t coming back. I think it’ll be a problem during the summer holidays,” a Benelux service center source said. “Prices will increase, stockholders have nothing.”

Meanwhile, imports were quiet on the market, with foreign prices increasing gradually, minimizing their appeal to domestic buyers.

— Amanda Flint