The coil price in north-western European countries has continued its surge in January, mainly on the back of enforcement by the mills.
Ex-works transaction prices for hot-rolled coil of over €450/tonne ($496/t) are not uncommon any more. “I hear of hikes on a daily basis,“ one manager tells Kallanish. Most buyers however are not witnessing the overall market demand that would support output and prices in the long run (see separate article), so many are debating whether the tipping point is near.
“The demand these days is not any better than it was in November, but the mills keep turning the wheel,“ another manager says. “This can easily lead to an imbalance, which then could lead to a U-turn [… in pricing],“ he adds.
Despite this implied threat, some mills are continuing to ask for higher prices. The target of €500/t for HRC last week was topped by a major mill when asking for €520/t for a smaller order of less than 50 tonnes, the manager notes. The price was not accepted by his customer, he says.
For cold-rolled and hot dip-galvanized coil, the rule-of thumb of a €100/t premium over HRC continues to apply with no visible change in trend. “After all, mills are pushing prices across the full range,“ one source notes.