Healthy inventories, near-term price uncertainties slow down EU HRC trades

European domestic hot-rolled coil trades slowed down Jan. 29 amid healthy inventory levels along with uncertainty about sustainability of the current price trend in the near-term due to buyers’ reluctance to meet mills’ targets.

“The sentiment remains negative with the market generally well-stocked,” a trader said. “End-user demand does not seem to be enough at this point to support higher prices.”

Buyers resorted to buying smaller volumes as mills remained firm on offers due to healthy order books for the first quarter.

“So many blast furnaces are back online which will add to supplies, and that can make mills reduce prices as demand is poor,” a Northwest European service center source said. “By April-May, mills’ books will be empty again.”

Market participants estimated tradable value for domestic HRC in Northwest Europe at Eur740-780/mt ex-works Ruhr. Deals for smaller tonnages were heard concluded at Eur750-800/mt EXW Ruhr with mills also offering at those levels.

Platts assessed the price of domestic HRC in Northwest Europe at Eur760/mt EXW Ruhr Jan. 29, up by Eur10.

Interest remained mild for imported HRC due to longer lead times and geopolitical situations.

Offers were heard at below Eur700/mt CIF Antwerp for imports. However, no deals were heard concluded and the assessment moved up to the level between fresh offers and Jan. 28 assessment.

Platts assessed the price of imported HRC in Northwest Europe at Eur680/mt CIF Antwerp Jan. 29, up by Eur20.

Author Rituparna Nath,, Maria Tanatar,