Italian hot-rolled coil prices begin to stabilize in otherwise bearish European market

Prices in the Italian hot-rolled coil market increased Nov. 28, with buyers more confident of stabilization moving into next year.

Platts assessed South European HRC up Eur5/mt on the day, at Eur605/mt ex-works Italy.

“Everyone is trying to move the market back towards Eur650/mt delivered and we’ve taken our first steps,” said a trader source.

With cheaper offers heard around Eur580-600/mt ex-works no longer available in the Italian market, buyers were indeed more positive on trading sentiments going into next year.

While current transactional activity has not yet risen to steelmakers’ Eur650/mt target price for delivered basis offerings – the equivalent of Eur620-630/mt ex-works Italy – deals were reported at Eur620-630/mt delivered, or Eur600-610/mt ex-works on the day.

Buyers awaited the reappearance of third country producers in the market, many of whom withdrew last week in aversion to a potential anti-dumping probe, particularly in relation to Japanese material. However, the current domestic price level has limited interest in import coil, at least until buyers perceive a stable pricing floor.

“There is no way for import to be competitive at all at the moment,” said a trader. “India was in the market competitively after other origins withdrew but offers expired on Friday with nothing new seen yet.”

The South European market is now trading at parity with North European mills, assessed stable at the same Eur605/mt ex-works Ruhr on the day.

Buyers in North Europe perceived opportunity to achieve prices below Eur600/mt ex-works Ruhr, with a trader reporting tradable value at Eur590/mt ex-woks Northern Europe.

In general, however, indications were received at Eur600-610/mt ex-works Ruhr and Northern Europe.

Platts is part of S&P Global Commodity Insights.

— Benjamin Steven