Short supply hampers Italian service centre sales

While Italian coil prices are fast increasing, service centres are sometimes struggling to pass on the steep hikes to end-users and contractors.

Demand is booming. Since September, the automotive industry has been ordering at pre-Covid-19-pandemic levels, the appliances sector is also responsible for high demand and service centre order books are filled until February.

Cold rolled and hot-dipped galvanised coil producers are filling February order books, while hot rolled coil makers have completed January order books. However, the more prices increase, the more buyers resist due to the difficulties they are having in passing on further hikes to their customers.

At the same time, the frenzy of price hikes is not forecast to stop as the country is suffering from a systemically short supply of coil, with no imports available. As the increases are happening too quickly, some customers are putting off purchasing, and risk being left without any material to sell.

Some flat product prices are not yet following the increases of HRC. Price increases are needed and expected for coated sheet, which is still at €560-570/tonne base ex-works. With HRC at €500/t base ex-works, this level is no longer sustainable. Producers tells Kallanish they intend to push up values for this product to €600/t ($710) base ex-works.

With no imports, ArcelorMittal Italia producing at minimum levels and still not taking orders for HRC, and Arvedi’s output reduced, the entire supply chain remains disrupted in the country. Business opportunities are being missed because of the lack of material, Kallanish notes.

Domestic CRC and HDG are at between €580-600/t base ex-works, while HRC is at €500/t base ex-works, sources suggest.