Lower import offers, poor demand drags down EU HRC prices

EU steelmakers were ready to accept lower hot-rolled coil prices due to falling import offers and slow trading activity, market sources said April 29.

HRC in Northern Europe was assessed down Eur15 at Eur1,275/mt ex-works Ruhr.

Although mills have been giving their official offers at largely stable levels — Eur1,300-Eur1,350/mt ex-works Ruhr — they were also reported to accept firm bids at Eur1,250-Eur1,300/mt ex-works Ruhr, according to sources. A trader said that prices as low as Eur1,200/mt ex-works Ruhr could be accepted.

“If anyone wants to buy it is easy to approach mills with firm bid and they would accept almost any price,” a Dutch trader said. “Demand is bad, automotive industry is pronounced dead and other end consumers refuse to buy at such high prices and prefer to wait.”

HRC in Italy dropped Eur25 to Eur1,175/mt ex-works Italy.

Official offers in Italy were at Eur1,250/mt ex-works, sources said. Mills were ready to accept Eur1,200/mt ex-works and buyers expect to see prices drop to Eur1,100-Eur1,150/mt ex-works over the short term.

Buyers have been holding back from making new deals with overseas suppliers due to long lead times, while expecting import prices to move down further. Buyers were also avoiding bookings with European steelmakers as they anticipate domestic prices to drop due to competitive import offers.

“There is a huge gap between domestic prices and import, so mills must decrease prices to remain competitive,” an Italian pipemaker said. “But I also do not think that offers from Asia have reached the bottom, I think import prices will drop by Eur20/mt next week.”

HRC imported in Northern Europe was assessed at Eur1,125/mt CIF Antwerp, down Eur10, based on offers for the material from Asia heard at Eur1,100-Eur1,130/mt CIF Antwerp.

Import offers ex-Japan, Taiwan decreased to Eur980-Eur990/mt CFR Italy, down Eur50/mt. HRC offers ex-Turkey were reported at prices “slightly above Eur1,000/mt CFR”, down from previous offers of Eur1,100/mt CFR Italy, including anti-dumping duties.

Offers from India were heard at Eur980/mt CFR Italy.

— Maria TanatarBenjamin Steven