Italian HRC hikes but uncertainty remains

Italian hot rolled coil prices are increasing by some €20/tonne ($20.9) on average compared to last week, although demand remains patchy, Kallanish hears.

Italian producers are now asking for €610-630/t base ex-works. Contracts are rising to an average level of €610/t base. A large producer says its order intake is now solid after it sold to multiple buyers at €610-620/t. It is considering increasing its prices for December and January delivery.

Another confirms, after a long deadlock, it received some orders in recent days, particularly from re-rollers, but service centres’ purchasing attitude remains cautious. Some service centres in Italy are reported to have high stocks. Considering the latest import purchases and currently lower consumption, stocks are lasting for longer.

Asian-origin offers into Italy are becoming less competitive, at $600-620/t cfr. This reflects a significant increase compared to the low point of the range of $560-570/t cfr seen in November, sources say.

Despite some movement in price and demand, December HRC prices in Europe remain uncertain. Northern European producers are looking for volumes and some aggressive values are being reported in the market, particularly for lower-quality material from stocks. HRC contract values in Italy are yet to consolidate the current price hikes. The general fear is that if producers increase prices too much for December, sales activity will stall again.

Natalia Capra France