Italian stainless coil orders pick up

Italian stainless steel coil prices are increasing after values reached rock bottom in July. European producers are hiking by approximately €100/tonne ($109) and contracted prices are seen rising accordingly in September for hot and cold rolled coil for October delivery, sources tell Kallanish.

Much of the market is now on holiday in Italy and in other European countries. Italian mills’ order intake improved in July and the first days of August. This follows a long period of quiet activity and contracting orders. Local service centres have bought some volumes for July, August and September delivery, while some deliveries are being delayed due to the August production stoppages.

At present, asking prices for October-delivery stainless CRC in Italy are at €2,300-2,350/t delivered on average, and some €150/t less for HRC. CRC with trimmed edges is transacting at about €2,200/t delivered, with HRC at about €2,000-2,050/t delivered, sources suggest.

Two Italian buyers say prices will have to increase for coils and derivatives in September but volumes will remain limited. Service centres’ clients are reported to have some work, but their activity remains low. Purchases in September should surge for October deliveries, owing to market seasonality. At present, however, distributors are reporting a low level of orders and a continuing wait-and-see attitude.

Natalia Capra France

Italian September tube may hike on costlier HRC

Italian welded tube prices are seen increasing in September, in line with the expected increases in coil values. The welded tube market remains subdued, with demand weak and prices depressed in most European countries, sellers and buyers tell Kallanish.

Tube values continue to lag behind hot rolled coil tags due to weak downstream demand. Uncertainty is dominating the market, which is now quiet due to the August holiday break. Discounts remain at 37-39 points, with purchases implemented only back-to-back and prices unsustainable compared to processing costs.

Commodity grade 40x40x3 product remains at €800/tonne ex-works, which provides practically no margin. While some positive signals are coming from the automotive sector, many other industries are ordering low volumes and distributors are keeping stocks low. Tube sales in July and the first week of August are reported to be weak with no significant restocking occurring.

The Italian and European HRC market is however forecast to become livelier in September and prices to increase, pushed up by the exhaustion of EU import quotas. Third-quarter quotas from Vietnam, Indonesia and other Asian countries are already exhausted, while few tonnages remain from Korea. Buyers can import only from Turkey, whose suppliers are offering higher prices, as well as from India.

HRC buyers say Korean suppliers will give no allocations to Italy for Q4 and new import quotas will expire on 1 October, the same day as they are renewed. Amid the general downturn of the steel sector in Europe, this seems the only good news for September, and both coil and coil derivative prices are seen increasing, albeit gradually. The market remains fragile. Downstream demand and consumer confidence are seen remaining weak, with no surprises until the end of the year.

The target for re-rollers is to reach 35 points for tube discounts. Sources see September HRC prices at €700/t ($766) base ex-works.

Natalia Capra France