Steel coil availability a challenge for European buyers

The European hot-rolled steel coils market climbed higher Sept. 4, with declining product availability a growing concern for buyers, sources said.

The Platts TSI hot-rolled coil index was calculated Sept. 4 at Eur456/mt ($537.90/mt) ex-works Ruhr, climbing Eur5.50/mt on the day.

Cold-rolled coil slipped back Eur2/mt from Sept. 3 and was assessed at Eur525.50/mt ex-works Ruhr.

In Southern Europe, HRC gained Eur2/mt on the day and was assessed at Eur449.50/mt ex-works South Europe, the highest since March 23.

In the UK, the Platts TSI hot-rolled coil index was assessed Sept. 4 at GBP 450-470/mt DDP West Midlands UK, rising GBP10/mt on the week.

The HRC shortage continued in the Italian market, while Italian mill Arvedi’s production remains impacted following a fire at the Cremona plant in August.

A ramp up of production has been delayed to the end of the week beginning September 7, according to sources.

A German-based mill source said prices were continuing to move up with mills offering HRC now at Eur480-500/mt EXW Ruhr, but that European prices were still lagging behind the global steel market, despite the recent hikes.

Although HRC imports are currently at European domestic levels with delivery times in January, the source said because of the anticipation of Europe prices increasing heavily, some buyers are saying they would be looking at import offers to secure volumes at the current price level.

An Italy mill source said there was panic in the market as buyers returning from vacation contend with higher prices and declining availability.

“There is panic in the market, its a disaster with such shortages in coils, there is a real shortage,” he said.

The mill source said RFQs had surged higher as buyers moved to secure product for October and November requirements, the source said, adding, “There was limited import bookings over the summer so there is a supply shortage now.”

While demand is pushing higher, any additional supply from steel mill furnace restarts will not reach the market until December and this will mean that the target of Eur500/mt for HRC will be possible.

— Len Griffin, Laura Varriale