Northern European domestic HRC prices down on weak demand

Domestic prices for hot-rolled coil declined in Northern Europe due to limited buying activity, market sources said on May 3.

HRC in Northern Europe was assessed down Eur10 to Eur1265/mt ex-works Ruhr.

Although few official offers were heard at Eur1300-1330/mt ex-works Ruhr, they were viewed as not workable by the buyers. Market sources estimated achievable prices at Eur1250-1280/mt ex-works Ruhr. One source also said that a price of Eur1200/mt ex-works Ruhr would be attainable in the short run.

Buyers across Europe have been holding back from making new deals as they believe prices are likely to move further down.

“Buyers have sufficient stocks and they prefer to wait until prices drop before they make any deals. Demand of end consumers is low, particularly from automotive. Mills have been under greater pressure to give discounts compared to the buyers who can wait longer. Even with high energy and other production costs, the price of Eur1200/mt ex-works should be high enough to cover costs and give margin,” a Northern European trader said.

“It seems that all producers – European and overseas mills – are looking for orders, which means at the end same – lower prices. Currently demand is weak due to lower automotive consumption. But this situation was caused, among other reasons, by the fact that by end of last year automotive and related companies took in all available material due to rising steel prices. Buyers also still have good stock levels. Thus we have prices under pressure and it´s expected a further decrease,” a German distributor said.

HRC imported in Northern Europe was assessed at Eur1125/mt CIF Antwerp, unchanged day on day.

Domestic prices in Italy were stable on May 3, but the situation was similar to the one in the north and bearish sentiment prevailed in the market. Competitive import offers contributed to downward sentiment in Southern Europe.

HRC in Italy stood unchanged at Eur1175/mt ex-works Italy.

Official offers in Italy were at Eur1200-1250/mt ex-works and achievable prices were reported at Eur1150-1180/mt ex-works.

Import offers of HRC were heard at Eur980-1000 per mt CFR Italy ex-Turkey, India, South Korea and Japan.

— Maria TanatarBenjamin Steven