HRC prices stable in North Europe, down in Italy

Domestic prices for hot-rolled coil have been fairly stable in Northern Europe on Nov. 2, but they inched down in Italy as the country’s mills started to give discounts.

Platts assessed domestic HRC in Italy at Eur650/mt ex-works, down Eur5/mt day on day.

A big service center source indicated that buyers’ price idea for domestic HRC as been Eur650/mt ex-works Italy. A smaller trader estimated achievable prices at Eur660-680/mt ex-works Italy.

A pipemaker reported deals at Eur640-650/mt ex-works Italy.

Offer from a smaller Italian mill has been heard at Eur680/mt ex-works. But offers of HRC from France have been available at Eur660/mt delivered Italy and from Northern European mills – at Eur650/mt delivered Italy.

Platts assessed hot-rolled coil in Northwest Europe stable day on day at Eur650/mt ex-works Ruhr Nov. 2.

Two distributor sources reported tradable values at Eur640-650/mt ex-works Ruhr and at Eur650/mt ex-works Ruhr.

A German service-center source saw tradable value for bigger lots at Eur650/mt ex-works Ruhr, but also mentioned official offers Eur700-750/mt ex-works Ruhr and that deals for small tonnages have been settled within the offer range.

A trader estimated achievable prices at Eur600-650/mt ex-works Ruhr.

Neither Italian nor Northern European steelmakers have announced HRC prices for the first quarter next year yet. The mills continued to sell the material with delivery this year at discounted prices.

“I think the mills had a really good start of the year and they figured out that even with current low prices and weak demand it would be better to fill production lines even if they cut prices further,” an Italian source said. “With the strong first half of the year, they most likely would still have good full 2022 results.”

Demand from distributors remained limited as they have been focused on material destocking, which has been taking longer due to limited end-consumer demand.

The lack of clarity on the first quarter of 2023 offers also supported the cautious approach of the buyers to new deals. The mills are expected to make an attempt to increase prices, but the majority of market sources have been skeptical if such a rise would be reflected in transactions.

Platts is part of S&P Global Commodity Insights.

— Maria Tanatar, Anqi Liu