Import offers tumble in EU HRC market

Import offers fell sharply in the European HRC market June 23, reinforcing bearish sentiments for domestic prices.

S&P Global Commodity Insights assessed imported hot-rolled coil down Eur90/mt June 23 at Eur740/mt CIF Antwerp.

Trader sources reported a sharp drop in offer levels from Japan on the day, with one trader reporting an offer at Eur720/mt CIF Antwerp. Another trader had sight of offers higher at Eur780/mt CIF Antwerp, but agreed that buyers were bidding at the Eur720/mt level. The source considered tradable value for import material at Eur740/mt CIF Antwerp.

Despite competitive prices, spot buyers were reluctant to purchase import materials due to long lead times and uncertainty in the market. However, the automotive sector was reported as looking to book HRC overseas.

These lower import offers, as well as weak demand and oversupply, pushed source indications for the domestic market lower on the day, with tradable value heard in the Eur850-870/mt range, ex-works Ruhr.

Hot-rolled coil in Northwest Europe was assessed down Eur10/mt June 23 at Eur860/mt ex-works Ruhr, according to S&P Global.

A trader and mill source agreed on a tradable value at Eur850/mt ex-works Ruhr, with another trader seeing prices of Eur850-870/mt ex-works Ruhr as achievable on the day.

A deal was reported at Eur850/mt delivered Ruhr ex-Italy, with very little resistance reported from said mill to lower pricing.

In South Europe, prices also fell against lower demand, with no transactional activity reported. HRC was assessed down Eur10/mt at Eur780/mt ex-works Italy.

Multiple trader sources reported tradable value at Eur780/mt ex-works Italy, and one trader said mills continued to offer officially at Eur820-850/mt ex-works Italy, although mills indicated prices of Eur800/mt ex-works Italy would be workable.

“Price decline is a problem, but I think mills are still in black — volumes are the main [cause for ]concern,” a service center source said. “There are no sufficient production cuts and if a buyer put an actual volume on the table, the mills would not let it go, regardless of the price.”

— Benjamin Steven, Maria Tanatar