More European steel producers seek higher HRC prices on increased costs

European hot-rolled coil prices moved up slightly, with increasingly more producers pushing for higher offers amid surging costs, Fastmarkets heard on Tuesday August 30.The downtrend that has persisted in the European flat steel market for the past several months seems to be coming to an end, despite still-low demand

Last Friday August 26, Europe’s leading producer ArcelorMittal increased its offer prices for all coil products by €50-100 per tonne depending on lead times.

During the week starting Monday August 29, more European mills have followed suit and announced offer price rises for flat steel products – including HRC – in the face of skyrocketing costs, Fastmarkets heard.

Notably, on August 30, Slovakia-based steel mill US Steel Kosice pushed for a €100-per-tonne price rise for October rolling HRC “as a result of skyrocketing energy prices and record-breaking levels of inflation,” the company said in a notice seen by Fastmarkets.

According to market sources, several other producers including Dunaferr and Liberty Steel have made similar moves and pushed for €70-100 per tonne higher flat steel offers.

After the price increases, HRC offers from the mentioned mills vary in a range of €850-870 per tonne delivered, Fastmarkets heard

One German producer also increased its offer price to €800 per tonne exw, sources said.

The targeted offers are still substantially above the tradeable level reported by market sources, however.

Fastmarkets calculated its daily steel HRC index, domestic, ex-works Northern Europe at €735 ($732.81) per tonne on Tuesday, up by €15 per tonne from the previous calculation of €720 per tonne exw on Friday. Fastmarkets’ HRC indices were not updated on Monday due to a UK public holiday.

The latest calculation of the index was up by €12.60 per tonne week on week but down by €121.25 per tonne month on month.

Several trading sources estimated the workable level for HRC in Northern Europe at €720-730 per tonne exw, but one transaction for a small volume of HRC was reported at €750-760 per tonne exw in the region this week.

In general, trading activity in the region has been sluggish amid persistent overstocking; however, several mills reported an increased number of inquiries from buyers.

“Everyone is checking to understand the price direction, but the activity is still weak,” a source in Germany said.

“It is too early to speak about the price rise. Without reasonable demand, it won’t be possible to achieve higher prices,” a mill source told Fastmarkets.

Fastmarkets’ calculation of its daily steel HRC index, domestic, exw Italy was €716.67 ($714.54) per tonne on Tuesday, up by €11.67 per tonne from the previous calculation on Friday.

The latest calculation of the Italian index was down by €0.83 per tonne week on week and down by €63.33 per tonne month on month.

The calculation was based on buyers’ estimates of achievable prices at €700-740 per tonne exw.

Most of the market participants in Italy were still out of the market due to the summer holiday period, so activity was minimal. Sources expect Italy’s HRC market to fully restart from holiday mode next week.

However, sources agreed that Italy’s mills will also attempt to push for higher prices to reflect surging energy costs.

In fact, one integrated steel mill in the nation has already pushed for a €100-per-tonne rise, with other two flat steel makers in the nation expected to make similar moves.

New HRC offers in the nation are expected to be about €800 per tonne exw, several sources told Fastmarkets.

Published by: Julia Bolotova