Italian coil trade goes quiet amid high prices

Italian cold rolled and hot-dipped galvanised coil prices are flattening this week amid slowing trade as the market approaches winter holiday stoppages at the end of this week. Despite the short month, demand has been dynamic, particularly until last week, market sources tell Kallanish.

HDG and CRC asking prices are now at €800/tonne ($875) base ex-works. Italian HDG is fetching €780-800/t base ex-works and some €10-20/t less for CRC, sources suggest. Italian suppliers have sold good volumes on the export market this month at €830-850/t delivered in France and Germany.

There is uncertainty that prices will remain high for second-quarter delivery. A seller says it is quite difficult to shift volumes at the current high values. European producers’ intention is to continue to push up values in January considering the lack of imports. A trader believes that if steelmakers increase prices too much in the new year, the market will stall and buyers will turn to imports. Demand downstream continues to be limited.

CRC supply has been strongly reduced after one local steelmaker stopped producing it. The void is being filled by Asian offers into Europe. Some import transactions from Asian countries took place this month at €710-720/t cfr Italy, Kallanish notes.

Meanwhile, ArcelorMittal is further increasing its quotes for hot rolled coil across Europe (see Kallanish 20 December newsletter). This week, sources in the market are reporting that the mill is offering HRC for the German market at €750/t ex-works. In the Italian market, offers are at €740/t ex works.

The latest quotes indicate an increase of some €20-30/t from the previous levels tabled at the beginning of December. However, transaction prices were lagging €20-30/t behind offer levels before the latest hike.

Natalia Capra France