Restocking drives Northwest European HRC prices higher on day

Northwest European domestic hot-rolled coil prices moved up on Nov. 17, driven by distributors’ need to replenish stocks.

The real demand, however, remained limited, and market participants had largely bearish outlook for steel consumption for 2024.

“Currently distributors are restocking, but the volumes are limited due to negative outlook for real demand in the first and second quarter of 2024,” a service center source said.

Meanwhile, another service center source said mills were in position to push for higher prices.

“Many buyers want to book as they had been avoiding booking for a long time, some for too long and now they have to pay higher prices as otherwise they would end up with empty stocks,” the second service center source added.

The majority of deals were concluded at Eur660-680/mt ex-works Ruhr, with some larger volumes booked at Eur630-640/mt ex-works Ruhr.

Platts assessed the price of domestic hot-rolled coil prices in Northwest Europe up Eur10 on the day at Eur665/mt ex-works Ruhr on Nov. 17.

“There are some flagship deals done for smaller volumes and higher prices and mills use them as a reason to push prices up,” a mill source said.

A couple of market sources said that steelmakers were preparing to further increase offers targeting prices above Eur700/mt ex-works Ruhr for the first quarter delivery.

Mills have also been pushing spot prices up to have more leverage in long-term contracts negotiations for 2024, sources said.

Platts assessed domestic prices for hot-rolled coil in South Europe down by Eur5 on the day at Eur645/mt ex-works Italy on Nov. 17, reflecting tradable values reported at Eur640-650/mt ex-works Italy.

Europe-based buyers have been showing limited interest in HRC originating from Far East due to longer lead times, as the material ordered now would be custom cleared in the second quarter of 2024 in order to fit into quotas for other countries.

Some deals, however, have been settled for the material from Turkey and India due to shorter lead times and country-specific safeguard quotas, which were not filled for January-March 2024.

In Southern Europe, deals for HRC from Turkey were heard at Eur630/mt CIF Italy, including anti-dumping duties. Deals for HRC coming from India were also heard at the same price level.

Platts assessed the import price of hot-rolled coil in South Europe up Eur10 on the day at Eur630/mt CIF Italy on Nov. 17.

Authors: Maria Tanatar, Rituparna Nath