Italian HRC price hikes

Following a period of quiet activity, Italian coil prices are increasing significantly, in line with European mills’ hiking asking prices, Kallanish learns from market participants.

Over the past two weeks, strong demand has returned to the market and hot rolled coil prices have gradually gone from the level of €600/tonne ($651) base ex-works at the beginning of the month to €630-650/t base ex-works this week. Producers have filled January order books and are now quoting February lead times.

All service centres have gone back to purchasing for January delivery, with limited material availability persisting as European steelmakers are allocating lower volumes to buyers for first-quarter delivery.

The import market is not attracting service centres due to the exhaustion of EU safeguard quotas and the long lead times. A high-volume transaction for HRC from India is rumoured to have taken place at €640/t cfr Italy for January boarding.

Some optimism is back and the wave of price increases should also interest coil derivatives. Sheet and tube makers are also pushing up their values, although the downstream market remains fragile, sources say.

All producers in Italy are reporting increased demand and prices for HRC, and some sources expect values to increase to €670-680/t delivered in the coming days. A service centre however believes that, if European prices go over this level, buyers will turn to the import market.

Natalia Capra France