HRC prices remain flat across Europe; mills reluctant to provide discounts

European prices for hot-rolled coil were broadly steady on Tuesday amid sluggish trading, sources told Fastmarkets on Tuesday May 21.

Fastmarkets calculated its daily steel hot-rolled coil index domestic, exw Northern Europe at €638.75 ($694.16) per tonne on Tuesday, marginally up by €0.42 per tonne from €638.33 per tonne on the previous day.

The index was down by €2.13 per tonne week on week but up by €13.25 per tonne month on month.

Traded volumes remained low, with buyers opting for hand-to-mouth bookings, Fastmarkets understands.

“We have seen more inquiries from distributors and steel service centers [for HRC] in May, but volumes are limited – nobody’s booking a single tonne more than required,” a mill source said.

And a second mill source said: “Real demand is limited, with no signs of recovery in the short- to medium term, so nobody is building stocks.”

Estimates of tradable prices for June-July delivery HRC came in at €630-650 per tonne ex-works.

“Mills are still struggling for orders but, for the past three weeks, they’ve stopped granting discounts and have tried to [increase] or at least stabilize prices [for HRC],” a buyer source said.

And other market participants said that prompt-delivery prices were higher, around €670-680 per tonne ex-works.

Italy-origin HRC was heard offered to Germany at €670 per tonne delivered on Tuesday.

And transactions for Italian HRC were reported at €650-670 per tonne delivered, but only for limited volumes.

Fastmarkets’ corresponding daily steel hot-rolled coil index domestic, exw Italy was calculated at €633.75 per tonne on Tuesday, up by €0.42 per tonne from €633.33 per tonne on the day before.

The index was down by €2.51 per tonne week on week but up by €13.75 per tonne month on month.

Trading in Italy’s HRC market was also limited, sources told Fastmarkets.

One local mill kept its offer price at €670 per tonne delivered (€660 per tonne ex-works) for June-July delivery coil.

And buyers put the tradable prices at as high as €640-650 per tonne delivered (€630-640 per tonne ex-works).

But some sources said that it was hard to increase downstream prices amid persistently slow end-user demand.

In the secondary market, 3-6 mm HR sheet was traded at no higher than €700-730 per tonne CPT, with most trades around €720-730 per tonne CPT, Fastmarkets understands.

And while some overseas suppliers have started granting some discounts, interest in imports showed no signs of improvement due to the looming import safeguard risks in the EU, sources told Fastmarkets.

Notably, July-shipment HRC from Vietnam was available at €580-590 per tonne CFR, while HRC from India was on offer in Europe at €590 per tonne CFR.

And offers from Taiwan, Japan and South Korea were heard at €600-615 per tonne CFR for July-August shipment.

July-shipment HRC from Turkey, meanwhile, was on offer at €610-620 per tonne CFR, including the anti-dumping duty, sources said.

But bids were no higher than €550-560 per tonne CFR – a price well outside the acceptable range for overseas suppliers.

Published by: Julia Bolotova