Low real demand challenges European HRC price rise

Author Maria Tanatar


European mills continued to aim for higher hot-rolled coil prices on Nov. 21 although real demand remained weak, and distributors have been cautious in restocking.

Demand from major end users has remained low and market sources had a largely pessimistic outlook for steel consumption in the first quarter.

The price recovery in November has been supported by restocking, rising import offers and effects from production cuts across Europe. Distributors, however, have been acquiring smaller lots of coil as they have been cautious to increase stocks.

“Real consumption is still weak, with apparent demand higher supported by restocking,” an Italian service center said.

“Real demand remains low, and restocking is done for limited volumes as buyers are concerned and do not want to build stocks in such market,” a mill source said.

The planned restarts of some blast furnaces in the EU also made buyers question the sustainability of the price recovery.

Platts assessed domestic prices for hot-rolled coil in Northwest Europe stable on day at Eur660/mt ex-works Ruhr on Nov. 21.

Tradable values have been reported at Eur640-680/mt ex-works Northwest Europe, with majority of data heard at Eur650-670/mt ex-works Ruhr.

Several sources said that the steelmakers were intending to increase offers again soon to achieve prices above Eur700/mt ex-works Northwest Europe in the first quarter.

Platts assessed domestic prices for hot-rolled coil in South Europe stable on day at Eur645/mt ex-works Italy on Nov. 21.

Tradable values have been reported at Eur640-650/mt ex-works Italy and offers for limited lots of December delivery coil have been heard at Eur640/mt delivered Italy and for January delivery, at Eur670-680/mt delivered Italy.