Indian HRC mills hike offers, eye EU business

Indian hot rolled coil suppliers are back in the EU market, aiming to capitalise on firming prices there amid idled capacities. After selling a consignment to the EU in late November, mills have hiked their quotes in anticipation of further business. The domestic market is likely to remain sluggish till at least January.

One Indian major concluded an S235 grade HRC deal towards the end last month to the EU at $630-635/tonne fob India for December shipment, with freight at $45-50/t. Mills have since hiked prices to $640-650/t fob.

These values could grow further as “right now, exports [to Europe] look bullish”, an Indian trader tells Kallanish. Domestic business is “flat”, says another trader, after failing to take off so far after Diwali, so mills “will look to boost exports to let some steam off from the domestic market”.

The consensus is that domestic demand should pick up in January or February, which will see mills turn their attention back to local sales.

There has been much talk in recent weeks about considerable HRC import tonnages arriving now in India and how they will impact the market. Opinion is split. One trader says mills are keeping domestic prices subdued in order to limit the competitiveness of imported material. However, another points out the expected tonnage arriving represents only a small share of overall consumption.

“Prices are going down against released figures by mills, while raw material is on the higher side,” the latter trader observes. “Mill are trying to leverage their losses by generating sales in dollars. The same is being diverted for raw materials purchases.”

Business in the Gulf Cooperation Council meanwhile remains unattainable, with Chinese HRC suppliers dominating there (see separate story). China-origin offers in the GCC are at cost levels for Indian mills, one trader points out.

Indian DC01 grade cold rolled coil export quotes are meanwhile at $715-720/t fob India.

Adam Smith Poland