Limited trading keeps European HRC prices largely flat across Europe

Hot-rolled coil prices were largely stable across Europe amid slow trading, with sources not expecting to see a rebound until September, sources told Fastmarkets on Tuesday July 11.Fastmarkets’ daily steel HRC index, domestic, exw Northern Europe was calculated at €680.83 ($747) per tonne on Tuesday, up by €0.83 per tonne from €680.00 per tonne on Monday July 10.

The latest calculation of the Northern European index was down by just €0.63 per tonne week on week, and down by €19.17 per tonne month on month.

Some producers in Germany were trying to push offers to around €720 per tonne delivered (€700 per tonne EXW) for September-October delivery coil, but traded volumes were still very limited.

Most buyer sources estimated tradable values at €670-680 per tonne EXW with transactions reported within that range.

“Trading is very slow, with spot sales are mainly done for small tonnages,” a steel service center in Germany said.

Sources said that prices were unlikely to decline in the short term due to the uptrend in imports and reduced availability caused by technical issues at some European mills. Additionally, most producers take a traditional two-to-three-week maintenance break in August.

Sources added, however, that there was no room for substantial price rises because of insufficient demand from end users.

“We will have to [take] small steps [in implementing any increases]. Maybe in September there will be some pick-up in apparent steel demand, given that buyers do not really restock now and in August the mills have stoppages, but [if] end-user demand does not rebound, major price rises will not happen,” a mill source told Fastmarkets.

Fastmarkets calculated its corresponding daily steel HRC index, domestic, exw Italy at €661.25 per tonne on Tuesday, down by €7.08 per tonne from €668.33 per tonne the previous day.

The Italian index was up by €3.33 per tonne week on week, and up by €6.25 per tonne month on month.

Offer prices from Italian mills were reported at €670-700 per tonne EXW for September delivery HRC.

Buyers have started showing more interest in purchases lately, but their idea of a tradable range was still around €650-660 per tonne EXW and traded tonnages remained limited, sources said.

“Italian mills increased their offer prices, but the increases were nominal and just indicated that the downtrend was over. Some small [price] gains have been achieved in deals, but transactions are still [rare],” a trading source said.

Europe HRC import market has been quiet recently, due to the long lead times offered by overseas suppliers and the shrinking gap with domestic prices.

Asian mills were offering HRC to Italy at around €610-630 per tonne CFR Italy for September-October shipment.

One source reported an HRC offer from a Vietnamese mill at $645 (€590) per tonne CFR for September shipment, but it could not be widely confirmed with other market sources by the time of publication.

Published by: Julia Bolotova