Trading seasonally slow, prices broadly flat in European HRC market

European hot-rolled coil prices were largely flat in a quiet market on Tuesday July 25, despite bullish moves by some producers, sources told Fastmarkets.

In Northern Europe, only a few suppliers were active with average lead times reported at 6-8 weeks.

One German producer was reportedly aiming for €700 ($774) per tonne EXW for HRC from November production, sources said, but buyers said that level was not workable given the current slow rate of consumption.

“[One integrated German steel mill has faced] heavy delays [on flat steel] deliveries for quite some time due to technical issues, which is why it has such a long lead times,” a trading source said.

Another German mill was not offering coil to the spot market due to force majeure, while another integrated mill in Northern Europe was being quite aggressive, with sales reported at €650-670 per tonne EXW for HRC with lead times in September.

A mill in Central Europe, meanwhile, was offering September-delivery HRC to Germany at €690 per tonne CPT, but only had limited allocations.

And a re-roller in Belgium was offering HRC to Germany at €620-640 per tonne CPT, with deals reported at the lower end of the range late in the week to July 21.

Buyer estimates of tradable values were no higher than €650-660 per tonne EXW.

Slow demand from end users was the major concern for both buyers and mills, with post-holiday expectations largely bearish because of this.

Fastmarkets’ daily steel hot-rolled coil index domestic, exw Northern Europe was calculated at €656.88 per tonne on July 25, up by €1.05 per tonne from €655.83 per tonne on July 24.

The latest calculation of the Northern European index was down by €13.95 per tonne week on week and by €16.42 per tonne month on month.

Fastmarkets calculated its corresponding daily steel HRC index domestic, exw Italy at €640.00 per tonne on July 25, down by €5.00 per tonne from €645.00 per tonne on July 24.

The Italian index was also down by €8.75 per tonne week on week and by €13.75 per tonne month on month.

In Italy, sources described trading as “completely frozen,” with mills starting their traditional summer maintenance stoppages and buyers also largely staying out of the market.

The quiet conditions are expected to prevail for the next four or five weeks.

Buyers in Italy said on July 25 that the achievable HRC price for delivery at the end of September and the beginning of October was €640-650 per tonne EXW.

Import offers were also limited, sources said.

Most overseas supplier were offering end-September/early-October shipment, which would mean end-November/early-December arrival.

HRC from one Japanese mill was on offer at $680 per tonne CFR to Italy for end-September shipment, while another mill from Japan was offering HRC at about $660 per tonne CFR, sources said.

A mill from Vietnam, meanwhile, was aiming for €580-585 per tonne CFR to Southern Europe.

Published by: Julia Bolotova