Slow demand, competitive imports drag on European steel CRC price; HDG steady

The European markets for steel cold-rolled coil and hot-dipped galvanized coil have remained quiet over the week ending Wednesday September 27, with consumption slowing and cheaper imported alternatives dragging on sentiment, sources have told Fastmarkets.

European mills tried to avoid making further price reductions for CRC and HDG, citing high production costs.

Notably, offer prices in Southern Europe on CRC for delivery in late November or early December were in the range of €730-750 ($773-794) per tonne ex-works, and about €750-770 per tonne ex-works for HDG.

Buyers’ estimates of tradable values were in the range of €710-720 per tonne ex-works for CRC and no higher than €750 per tonne ex-works for HDG in Southern Europe. One source reported a bid for CRC at €700 per tonne ex-works, but producers were reluctant to accept such low prices.

Slow demand from the end-user side remained the major concern for the market, with no rebound in sight in the fourth quarter of 2023, market sources said.

“The construction sector is very slow at the moment, with no new projects,” a trader in Europe said. “Automotive demand is likely to drop further in the fourth quarter and, with prices for hot-rolled coil [the feedstock for CRC production] trending lower, I think we will soon see lower prices for CRC and HDG as well, unless mills start to reduce output.”

Fastmarkets’ weekly price assessment for steel CRC, domestic, exw Southern Europe, was €720-730 per tonne on Wednesday, down by €10 per tonne from €730-740 per tonne the week before.

The corresponding weekly price assessment for steel HDG, domestic, exw Southern Europe, was €750-760 per tonne on Wednesday, unchanged in the past fortnight.

Meanwhile, competitive offers from overseas suppliers were putting additional pressure on European prices.

“Unlike for hot-rolled coil, for CRC imports there are no quota concerns [related to EU import restrictions] and the price gap with European mills is quite workable,” a trading source in Italy said.

Offers of Japan-origin CRC for November shipment were reported at €675 per tonne CFR to Southern Europe, while CRC offers from South Korea and Taiwan were around €680-690 per tonne CFR.

A Vietnamese supplier was offering $840 per tonne CFR for 0.5mm HDG with Z100-120 coating for November shipment.

Published by: Julia Bolotova