S. Europe HRC import market remains stable, uncertain

The southern European import market for HRC has steadied in terms of prices this week, Kallanish learns from sources. Nevertheless, uncertainties linked with the ongoing review of safeguard measures are creating problems.

Since mid-last week, new import offers from both India and Turkey have stabilised at some €390-400/tonne ($423-434/t) cfr South Europe for HRC. “Buyers have ordered quite well from import sources during recent weeks, now the market has calmed down again,” a trader notes. Lower prices were heard in mid-April, but these were only available to large purchasers such as tubemakers.

It is understood that buyers are now wary of taking risks as the ongoing review related to safeguard measures could well impact new tariff-free quotas available from beginning of July. “We have sold some quantities of material already available at the docks, new orders could be a little risky until more clarity is given on the safeguard quotas,” a source says.

During the last month Eurofer has lobbied the European Commission to lower tariff-free quotas by as much as -75% for the coming quarters. It has also requested that quotas be calculated quarterly for all products and that the 30% cap applied earlier to large importers of specific products be further reduced.

“I know Eurofer has to support European steelmakers, but I don’t understand why such restrictive measures should be considered now, when the entire supply chain is suffering. In a normal business environment, I can understand that steelmakers try to protect their business, but now a change in the safeguard would harm many other businesses, including importers already expecting material to arrive in Europe,” the trader adds.