N. Europe HRC market lower, buyers uncertain about future pricing

North European hot-rolled coil prices were heard lower Aug. 25 as cheaper imports encroached on domestic steel territory, with foreign HRC prices heard at Eur975/mt CIF Antwerp and CRC imports heard at Eur1100/mt ex-works Ruhr. Sentiment has been mixed recently, with market participants uncertain of future pricing developments, sources told S&P Global Platts.

One source was expecting a greater HRC pricing split between north and south Europe, with imports much cheaper than domestic market prices.

“Can be seeing lower prices in the new year. There’s lots of uncertainty, I don’t know the demand viability over the next week,” a European mill source said. “All big customers have big order books, automotive demand is still good, but positions are taken away because of problems with suppliers, so some days there is no [auto] production.”

The market was also wary of other potential declarations about import duties, fueling the uncertainty. Ongoing logistical concerns, including a shortage of truck drivers and ships, added to the unwillingness among buyers to purchase material, with credit issues also a factor.

North European HRC prices were assessed down Eur5/mt to Eur1135/mt ex-works Ruhr and in Southern Europe prices were assessed stable at Eur1040/mt ex-works Italy.

— Amanda Flint