Northwest Europe coil prices unmoved, possibly softening

Coil prices in northwestern Europe have seen limited movement and it looks unlikely this will change after the summer holidays. Some sources do not exclude the possibility of a further minor drop in prices.

Although some participants say ArcelorMittal claims to have started to reverse the pricing downtrend, this is not being confirmed from the side of the buyers. In fact, one buyer suggests that September could see another dip, as “the demand just isn’t there”. A spokesman of a distribution group concurs, stating: “We see the trend of softening prices still being in force.” He adds: “With every dip, the [pricing] floor consolidation is coming nearer, though.”

A Benelux service centre manager observes: “Steel demand has slowly continued to rise in recent times.” But then he cautions that “this seems to be mainly a hedge against the risk of possible shortages, but not an economic structural improvement in demand.” Prices of hot rolled coil are seen bottoming at, or slightly below, €650/tonne ($715), with cold rolled and hot-dip galvanized coil fetching €80-100/t more.

Some rather low prices heard earlier for CRC, a mere €40 above those for HRC, applied to sheet sold by distributors, rather than coil sold by mills, a German manager tells Kallanish. “Mills’ offers were rather stable but, downstream, some have sold sheet at intake prices,” she says. “It is crazy, but if one starts, ten others follow suit.”

Import offers have meanwhile risen, with HRC reaching €600/t cfr Antwerp, up €20-30 if including customs fees.

Christian Koehl Germany