Northern European HRC prices stable, market awaits restocking

Domestic prices for hot-rolled coil in Northern Europe were stable on July 13 as market activity remained low with restocking expected by end-July.

Platts assessed HRC in Northern Europe at Eur855/mt ex-works Ruhr July 13, stable day on day, according to S&P Global Commodity Insights data.

Four buyers and one steelmaker reported tradable value for domestic HRC at Eur850-860/mt ex-works Ruhr.

One of the buyers also reported a deal settled at Eur850/mt ex-works Ruhr and said that a Northern European producer has increased offers to Eur900/mt ex-works Northern Europe.

Anticipated restocking combined with production cuts implemented by EU steelmakers and some revival of steel consumption by carmakers are likely to support the prices. Some market sources, however, questioned the extent of the demand recovery.

“Demand is better, but it is moving up from such a low point that it is hardly going to reach normal rates this year,” a Northern European distributor said.

“Market activity remains weak at the moment, any improvement is slow, and expected restocking has not started yet,” a producer said.

Other sources, however, believed that taking into account reduced steel output, longer summer maintenance of steelmakers and equipment stoppages, the buyers will have to restock for September no later than the end of July, supporting domestic price recovery.

In addition, interest in imported HRC was limited due to long lead times.

Deals for HRC from Asia were heard at Eur770-780/mt CFR Antwerp.

HRC in Southern Europe was assessed at Eur780/mt ex-works Italy July 13, up Eur5 day on day.

Italian steelmakers were offering HRC at Eur800/mt ex-works, with buyers estimating achievable prices at Eur770-790/mt ex-works.

— Maria Tanatar