Hot-rolled coil prices were broadly stable in Europe on Monday March 20, with producers bullish on strong order books, sources told Fastmarkets.
Traded volumes were limited in the region, with mainly hand-to-mouth bookings for small lots reported recently.
Buyers remained cautious about recent price increases, given the lack of support from the demand side.
Additionally, most of the steelmaking capacity that was idled during 2022 has been or will be restarted at the start of the second quarter, which will likely alleviate pressure on volumes.
But the effects of these capacity restarts will only be felt in the third quarter of 2023, sources believe.
On Monday, HRC offers from mills in Northern Europe were reported at €860-870 per tonne EXW, and buyers’ estimates of tradeable values were at €820-850 per tonne EXW.
Market sources pointed out that buyers “had no power to claim discounts” because producers have strong order books and are already offering June-delivery HRC.
Fastmarkets calculated its daily steel hot-rolled coil index domestic, exw Northern Europe at €845.00 ($901.21) per tonne on Monday, down by €1.25 per tonne from €846.25 per tonne on Friday.
The latest calculation of the index was up by €10 per tonne week on week and by €72.74 per tonne month on month.
Fastmarkets’ calculation of the daily steel HRC index, domestic, exw Italy was €822.28 per tonne on Monday, up €5.03 per tonne from €817.25 per tonne on Friday.
The latest calculation of the index was up by €9.78 per tonne week on week and by €63.15 per tonne month on month.
HRC producers in Italy were sold out for May-delivery coil and were in no rush to offer material for June delivery.
One integrated mill was targeting as high as €870 per tonne delivered, which would net back to about €850 per tonne EXW.
Buyers’ ideas of tradeable values were heard within the range of €810-820 per tonne EXW.
“Final demand is very slow, but mills have a strong portfolio, so most likely prices [for HRC] will keep climbing in the short term,” a trading source said.
Imported HRC prices were largely not workable for European buyers, given the associated long lead times.
Notably, offers from Japan and South Korea for May-June shipment were reported at €780-800 per tonne CFR.
An Indian producer was aiming for $830-840 per tonne CFR to Southern Europe.
Published by: Julia Bolotova