Steel HRC prices flat in Europe as holiday lull begins

Prices for steel hot-rolled coil in Europe were largely flat on Friday July 28 in slow summer trading, although mills hoped to achieve some post-holiday increases due to an expected recovery in apparent demand, industry sources have told Fastmarkets.

Fastmarkets’ daily steel hot-rolled coil index, domestic, exw Northern Europe, was calculated at €656.00 ($725.12) per tonne on July 28, up by €0.37 per tonne from €655.63 per tonne on July 27.

The latest calculation of the index was down by just €0.25 per tonne week on week, but down by €14.63 per tonne month on month.

Neither mills nor buyers were particularly active in the seasonally slow market.

“Mills offer [HRC] but there’s no hurry to buy, because demand is weak, stocks are more or less at the right level, and import volumes are high,” a trading source said.

One producer in Germany was hoping to achieve €700 per tonne ex-works for November-rolling HRC, but no deals at that price have been heard yet, market sources said.

In general, there were only a few producers active in the market, with September-October delivery HRC on offer at €660-680 per tonne ex-works, while buyer estimates of the tradable value were closer to €650-660 per tonne ex-works.

“Prices have been flat for several weeks and will stabilize [after the] summer holidays,” a second trader in the region said.

As for the post-holiday outlook, there was cautious optimism that apparent demand for HRC would improve due to restocking, market sources said, although the availability of low-priced imports was likely to decline quickly due to the fast uptake of European Union import quotas.

“There’s a risk the quota volume might be reached and even exceeded, which might make imports more expensive [and reduce] pressure on the domestic market,” a distributor said.

Fastmarkets calculated its daily steel hot-rolled coil index, domestic, exw Italy, at €644.58 per tonne on July 28, up by €1.25 per tonne from €643.33 per tonne on July 27.

The Italian index was up by €6.25 per tonne week on week, but was down by €0.60 per tonne month on month.

Trading in the Italian market was practically non-existent ahead of the normal August holiday stoppages.

Buyers said that the tradable value for September-October delivery HRC was no higher than €640-650 per tonne ex-works on July 27.

An offer for September-delivery HRC from a re-roller was heard at €650-660 per tonne ex-works.

And one buyer source said that it was negotiating a booking for October-delivery HRC with an integrated mill in the region at €670 per tonne delivered (equivalent to about €655 per tonne ex-works).

HRC import offers in Italy were also broadly stable, with little buying interest reported despite the competitive offers.

HRC for late September/early October shipment from Vietnam was said to be available at €580 per tonne CFR to Italy.

Taiwan and Japan were offering HRC with the same shipment dates at a slightly higher price of €600-610 per tonne CFR.

Published by: Julia Bolotova