HRC buyers in Europe remain skeptical about recent rise in offer prices

Hot-rolled coil prices across Europe were largely flat despite bullish moves from some producers, while subdued end-user demand remains a key concern for the market, sources told Fastmarkets on Thursday August 24.

A leading European flat steel producer pushed offers for October-rolling HRC to €700 ($759) per tonne EXW earlier this week, Fastmarkets reported.

Other producers were expected to follow the lead and increase prices to similar levels. But market sources doubted that new offer prices would be sealed in deals any time soon.

“Other mills will try to raise prices, but I’m not sure it will materialize in deals. Demand is very slow, not enough to boost such an increase,” a distributor in Northern Europe said.

Most trading sources agreed that “the market is not yet ready for that level.”

Buyers’ estimates of achievable prices for HRC in Northern Europe were around €640-650 per tonne ex-works.

One integrated mill in Germany was reportedly offering September-rolling coil within that range.

Another German mill claimed to have been sold out for 2023 volumes already, but this information was not widely confirmed by market sources.

In general, most buyer sources expected either HRC prices to rollover or mildly increase by “no more then €15-20 per tonne” in September.

Fastmarkets calculated its daily steel hot-rolled coil index domestic, exw Northern Europe at €643.75 ($697.95) per tonne on Thursday, up by €1.04 per tonne from €642.71 per tonne the previous day.

The index was also up by €5.83 per tonne week on week but down by €12.08 per tonne month on month.

Fastmarkets’ calculation of its corresponding daily steel hot-rolled coil index domestic, exw Italy was €633.33 per tonne on Thursday, stable day on day.

The Italy index was up by €0.83 per tonne week on week, but down by €11.67 per tonne month on month.

Italian steelmakers were expected to return to the market with fresh offers next week, sources said. The target level before summer closures, according to some integrated producers in the nation, was also at €700 per tonne EXW.

Similarly to Northern Europe, buyers in Italy deemed that level too high.

Italian buyers’ estimates of achievable prices were no higher than €630-650 per tonne ex-works.

The market for overseas coil was also quiet on Thursday.

Asian suppliers could offer November-December delivery to Europe, which was not suitable for EU buyers given the high safeguards-related risks.

Turkey and India, which both have enough allocations even for third-quarter deliveries, were offering coil at quite high prices.

Turkey-origin coil with end-October-November delivery was offered to European ports at €630-640 per tonne CFR, without anti-dumping duty.

India-origin HRC was offered to Italy at around €630 per tonne CFR for November delivery.

Published by: Julia Bolotova