Italian HRC price hike attempts fail

Attempts by European producers to push up hot rolled coil prices this month seem to have failed, with sources saying it will be a long, painful summer for Italian HRC. Volumes have remained relatively low and service centres and re-rollers continue to buy mostly back-to-back, Kallanish notes.

The euro appreciation versus the dollar has seen euro-denominated quotes fall since the beginning of the month to €590-610/tonne ($663-685) cfr from Asian suppliers. One of these suppliers tried €620/t cfr but did not conclude a deal. HRC import purchases at very large buyers are at around €40/t below this level. Service centres and re-rollers do not expect any price increases in July and August, while producers are quoting relatively short, August and September lead times.

Procurement difficulties and long lead times are a thing of the past. Both service centres and end-users are now obliged to keep their stocks low due to high financial costs, uncertain pricing and low visibility, as well as relative ease of domestic procurement.

Some higher-priced HRC purchases were reported in the second half of June but volumes have again become limited. From the beginning of July, service centres have been reporting low sales and low purchases also for sheet, with prices mostly stable on-month.

Some restocking is forecast in September when Italian buyers will have to purchase to adjust their year-end financials. Before September, no significant change is forecast. Domestic HRC prices are stable on-week at €650-660/t base ex-works or €680/t base delivered, but only small volumes are being bought. Sources in the market do not think consumption will recover by the end of the year.

Natalia Capra France