European hot-rolled coil prices were largely flat amid a lack of trading, market sources told Fastmarkets on Tuesday February 7.
Fastmarkets calculated its daily steel hot-rolled coil index, domestic, exw Northern Europe, at €755.00 ($812.37) per tonne on Tuesday, up by €3.33 per tonne from €751.67 per tonne on Monday.
The latest calculation of the index was down by €0.63 per tonne week on week, but up by €85.83 per tonne month on month.
Offers prices from steel mills in the region were at €770-780 per tonne ex-works, Fastmarkets heard, while most buyers still believed €750-760 per tonne ex-works to be the highest workable price in the region.
Several sources said, however, that a leading European steelmaker was planning another round of price rises to be imposed on second-quarter-rolling coil. They said that lead times for HRC at European mills were becoming longer, with most of them being able to offer April-May delivery.
“Reduced supply and a lack of competitive imports are the major market drivers now,” a distributor in the region told Fastmarkets.
HRC for April-May delivery was on offer from Italy to Germany at €810 per tonne delivered on Tuesday, sources said. Buyers considered that price to be too high for the moment, but the mill had no intention of cutting it, citing good order books.
“The buyers are not happy with higher prices [for HRC] and are holding back from bookings. But the question now is who can wait longer, mills or buyers? And from the mills’ side, we can say that we are very well booked,” a producer source in the region told Fastmarkets.
Fastmarkets’ calculation of the daily steel hot-rolled coil index, domestic, exw Italy, was €749.58 per tonne on Tuesday, up by €2.91 per tonne from €746.67 per tonne on Monday.
The latest calculation of the index was down by €2.09 per tonne week on week, but up by €97.08 per tonne month on month.
Offers from local mills for HRC with April delivery were reported close to €770-780 per tonne CPT, which would net back to €750-770 per tonne ex-works, sources said.
Buyers’ estimates of achievable prices, however, remained within the range of €740-750 per tonne ex-works.
Purchasing in Italy was quiet because buyers have been holding back, assessing the market situation.
“There are very few transactions in the market. Buyers were booking [HRC] actively in January, so now it is at a bit of a standstill,” a trading source told Fastmarkets.
Producers, in their turn, had good order books and had no intention of reducing the price.
The lack of competitive import offers was also supportive of the uptrend in the domestic HRC market.
Buyers reported price indications for Indian and Asian HRC at €735-740 per tonne CFR for April shipments. But overseas offers were scarce, with some key suppliers still out of the market.
“There are still no offers from Japan or South Korea, and of course nothing from Turkey this week,” a trading source said. “And the current indications [of €735-740 per tonne CFR] are still too close to domestic European prices to take a risk and wait for that HRC to arrive in May-June.”
Published by: Julia Bolotova