Optimism returns to EU HRC market, transactions remain limited

The EU coils market was optimistic April 1 on the back of subdued panic, though transactional activity remained limited.

In Northern Europe, deals concluded through week beginning March 28 were reported at Eur1380-1390/mt, with a mill source reporting tradable value at the Eur1390/mt level.

Service center sources were largely united on workable levels, reporting a spread of Eur1380-1400/mt in achievable prices from Northern mills.

Sources expected levels to stabilize in the near-term after bullish trends softened on week, as mill production costs remain inflated given rising energy prices across Europe.

“I expect prices to be relatively stable in the short-term as the market is well stocked and panic is much reduced,” said one service center source. “Beyond that, we may see further increases as mills really have no room to decrease offer levels, production costs are through the roof and energy pressures are still very present – mills will go to short-work rather than move offers down.”

In the South, sentiment was much the same – one service center source reported tradable value as moving closer to the Eur1350/mt mark as seller ambitions relaxed against buyer resistance.

“Despite higher [production] costs we are seeing reductions in the market. A lot of the panic is gone as volume availability is better than expected a few weeks ago – at the end of the day you can still buy steel if you need it which was the main worry for buyers,” said the source.

A distributor source confirmed the sentiment but did not predict further decreases – “I don’t believe prices will collapse, a one-week slowdown is fully acceptable after the recent rally.”

Platts assessed the hot-rolled coil TSI price for Northern Europe stable on the day at Eur1390/mt ex-works Ruhr. HRC in Italy was down Eur10 at Eur1350/mt ex-works Italy.

— Benjamin Steven