Northern European HRC prices fall in buyer’s market

Northern European hot-rolled coil prices edged lower in a buyer’s market on Tuesday August 9, with sentiment pessimistic for the period after the summer break, sources told Fastmarkets.
Trading activity in the spot market has been subdued by the holiday season, with most buyers preferring to postpone purchases until September, expecting to have a clearer picture of the market by that time, sources said.

Sufficient stocks have allowed buyers to be more flexible in their purchasing strategy, Fastmarkets understands.

Producers, meanwhile, were ready to sell high volumes of HRC at lower prices.

As a result, Fastmarkets calculated its daily steel HRC index, domestic, ex-works Northern Europe, at €810.00 ($825.37) per tonne on Tuesday, down by €13.75 per tonne from €823.75 per tonne on August 8.

The latest calculation of the index was down by €39 per tonne week on week and by €30 per tonne month on month.

Even though official offers from mills in the region were still being heard at €840-850 per tonne exw, those prices were not considered workable by buyers.

Transactions for small tonnages were reported at €780-800 per tonne exw on Tuesday, with achievable prices estimated in the same range.

“Nobody is buying big tonnages – [because there is] no need for it. But mills are desperate for orders so are ready to cut [HRC] prices,” a trading source in Germany said.

Sources suggested that HRC prices in the region were unlikely to rebound after the summer holidays because of persistently weak end-user demand and high buyer inventories.

Italy’s market, meanwhile, has also been largely quiet due to the holiday lull in Europe, with prices broadly unchanged.

“The Italian market is in holiday mode,” a trading source in Italy said. “Arvedi has stopped until September, Ilva [Acciaierie d’Italia] has stopped one blast furnace and will most likely stop another one due to costs, while Metinvest is missing slab [supplies] from Ukraine and is working at reduced rates, so supplies [of HRC] are quite limited in Italy.”

Fastmarkets’ calculation of its daily steel HRC index, domestic, exw Italy, was €772.50 per tonne on Tuesday, stable day on day.

The latest calculation of the Italian index was down by €4.50 per tonne week on week but up by €17.50 per tonne month on month and was based on offers reported at €780-800 per tonne exw and buyer estimates of tradeable prices at €750-760 per tonne exw.

The market for overseas HRC was also quiet on Tuesday, with some Asian suppliers having withdrawn their offers due to the holiday season in Europe.

Turkey-origin HRC was offered to Italy at €685-690 per tonne cfr, excluding anti-dumping duties, sources told Fastmarkets.

And one source reported HRC offers from South Korea at €650 per tonne cfr Italy, although these could not be confirmed by other market participants.

Published by: Julia Bolotova