Steel HRC producers across Europe gradually raising offer prices

More European steel hot-rolled coil producers have announced higher offer prices, but buyers continued to hold back, claiming that slow end-user demand was not supportive of major price rises, Fastmarkets heard on Thursday August 31.

Fastmarkets calculated its daily steel hot-rolled coil index domestic, exw Northern Europe at €650.00 ($708.30) per tonne on August 31, down by just €0.21 per tonne from the previous calculation of €650.21 per tonne on August 30.

The index was up by €6.25 per tonne week on week but down by €4.92 per tonne month on month.

In the week starting August 21, a major European steelmaker raised its offers to €700 per tonne ex-works for HRC with October lead times. In the current week, that offer price “became more generalized in Northern Europe,” a source in the market said.

Some other European mills were following the trend. Notably, one Central European producer announced offers of HRC for September-October delivery at €710 per tonne delivered.

Another mill in the same region was hoping to achieve €700 per tonne delivered for October-delivery coil.

German producers were not really active in the market, reporting delays in deliveries.

But another integrated mill in Northern Europe was reported to be selling October-delivery HRC at €650 per tonne ex-works, while for November-December it was hoping to achieve €680-700 per tonne ex-works.

Buyers’ estimates of tradeable prices in Northern Europe were still no higher than €640-650 per tonne ex-works. Insufficient end-user demand was the major obstacle to a price rebound, buyers said.

Fastmarkets’ calculation of its daily steel hot-rolled coil index domestic, exw Italy was €635.00 per tonne on Thursday, down by €0.83 per tonne from €635.83 per tonne on August 30.

The Italy index was up by €1.67 per tonne week on week, but unchanged month on month.

The Italian market was still rather quiet, with buyers and mills expected to make a full return to the market in the week starting September 4.

Local producers were hoping to achieve €700 per tonne delivered (about €680-685 per tonne ex-works) in transactions for October-delivery HRC. But buyers did not believe such a large rise was possible, considering slow downstream sales and the difficulties that end-users would face to increase prices.

“Steel service centers are still selling cut-to-length HRC at no more than €740 per tonne delivered, so achieving €700 per tonne delivered for HRC would be a problem,” a trading source said.

Buyers’ ideas of tradeable values were still being reported at €630-640 per tonne ex-works, and they reported sales of September-delivery coil from one integrated mill in late August within that range.

Some trading sources suggested that €650-660 per tonne ex-works could be achieved for October-delivery coil amid a restocking drive. “[But the] price direction will become more clear [in the week starting September 4] when buyers gradually come back to the market,” a distributor said.

HRC import offers for October-November shipment to Europe were stable day on day on Thursday, within the range of €600-630 per tonne CFR to Italy from Asia and Turkey.

Published by: Julia Bolotova