Italian stockholders assessing new price increases

The Italian coil market is in waiting mood following ArcelorMittal’s recent announcement it would increase prices across Europe, market sources told Platts Tuesday.

Italian stockholders said before they return to buy, they are trying to pass on the higher prices (to end users) that they had previously paid. “We are cautious about making any purchases, we must first pass on our higher cost prices, but we are also cautious about selling, as we believe that prices will go up further, so we don’t want to make any discounts in the rush to sell. Mills have pushed for higher prices as raw materials went up and we see room for further increases as non EU mills have also raised their prices,” a source at a large stockholder said.

“ArcelorMittal pushed prices up also here [in Italy] although it did not manage to pass its previous increase, but the message is very clear – they want to raise prices because raw material prices are going up and we expect that other Italian mills will follow,” a source at a large stockholder said.

“It seems also that it could be a move to prepare clients before the next important negotiations. Additionally, the fact that ArcelorMittal made its announcement just before EuroBLECH indicates that it is publicly displaying the direction that it intends to go in,” he added.

In Italy ArcelorMittal is officially quoting €480/mt base ex-works for hot rolled coil; but other domestic mills are still at around €430-440/mt base ex-works. Import offers into Italian ports moved to around €440/mt CIF Italian ports (from Turkey, arriving in January) down from quotes of €400/mt CIF Italian ports, from two-three weeks ago.

Domestic mills are now quoting cold rolled coil at €530/mt base ex-works, but ArcelorMittal wants to achieve €600/mt base ex-works. Imports have also moved up to €550/mt CIF Italian ports (from India, end-January delivery).

Annalisa Villa, PLATTS