Strong demand returns for Italian HRC

Italian hot rolled coil prices are increasing in quotes and contracts by some €30/tonne ($32/t) on average compared to last week. Downstream demand and demand from service centres and re-rollers is strong, with prices hiking throughout the value chain, Kallanish hears.

Italian and European producers are now quoting April lead times after quickly closing March allocations. Asking prices have been pushed up to €780/t base ex-works or delivered, depending on client and tonnage. Contracts are now hovering at €760-770/t base delivered, sources say.

Import offers are missing in the Italian market. Traditional HRC sellers to southern Europe, such as Japan, Korea, Taiwan, and India, are not quoting apart from limited-time offers for small allocations that expire fast.

Italian producers intend to push up prices again, to €800/t base ex-works, possibly next month but will attempt to first consolidate at €780/t. While service centres supplying the automotive industry continue to suffer, others report sustained orders, a very good January in terms of shipping and order intake, and full order books for February. They are also being successful with increasing their prices.

If Asian sellers remain out of the Italian market, the price increases and strong demand for domestic material are forecast to last. Small tonnages of imported material from Turkey and Asian countries transacted in Italy this month at between €735-750/t cfr.

Future Asian quotes into Europe will also depend on the resumption of Chinese market activity after the Chinese New Year. European producers are nevertheless expected to play a key role in maintaining some price stability and not exaggerating with increases, sources suggest.

Natalia Capra France