Northwest European HRC offers limited, buyers show higher interest in imports

Prices for hot-rolled coil produced in Europe remained unchanged July 19, with only a limited number of mills active in the northwest.

The current exchange rate between the euro and the US dollar has supported buyer interest in imported HRC, sources said.

A transaction for HRC originating from Taiwan has been heard at Eur605-610/mt CIF Antwerp, and offers and tradable values for Asian material have been reported at Eur600-610/mt CIF Antwerp.

Platts assessed prices for imported HRC in Northwest Europe at Eur605/mt CIF Antwerp July 19, down Eur5.

“Import will remain competitive even with longer lead times, the first attempt of the European mills to increase offers would attract more overseas coil,” a trader said.

In the meantime, only a couple of NWE steelmakers have been active in the market, as others have reported full order books and some were planning summer maintenance, including the relining of blast furnaces.

The range of offers in Germany has also been wide—a re-roller has been offering HRC at Eur620/mt delivered Germany, some NWE integrated mills have been aiming for prices of Eur680-700/mt, delivered Germany, and offers from Central Europe have been reported at the equivalent of Eur650-660/mt, delivered Germany.

And market participants estimated tradable values at Eur650-680/mt EXW Ruhr.

Platts assessed prices for HRC produced in Northwest Europe at Eur660/mt ex-works Ruhr July 19, stable on the day.

“German mills are not really active, and they do not give official offers,” a German service center said. “So, prices should be stable, at least that is the sentiment, but in reality, they keep slowly sliding. And there are some steelmakers ready to give discounts.”

Platts assessed prices for HRC produced in Southern Europe at Eur655/mt EXW Italy July 19, unchanged.

Demand has been gradually decreasing as the European market enters a traditionally slow period in the second half of summer. In addition, distributors have been avoiding the booking of bigger lots due to an uncertain outlook for September. The blurry consumption expectations were caused by low demand from the majority of end-user sectors, with the exception of the automotive industry.

Author Maria Tanatar