UK HRC market sentiment bearish on low demand

Domestic prices for hot-rolled coil in the UK fell in the week ended May 16 as trading activity remained low and distributors started to offload ex-stock material at competitive prices.

Atlantic Steel Processing, a flat steel service center and stockholder, went into administration on May 14, according to official government data. Market sources said that this will result in significant tonnages going around and prices are expected to be lower in the coming weeks.

“Atlantic steel went into administration, so the cargo has to go somewhere,” a trader source said. “Spot prices are expected to be lower because of this for the next 2-3 weeks.”

Atlantic Steel typically has up to 10,000 mt of flat steel in the warehouse, and further 10,000 mt in ports, according to the company’s website.

Steelmakers have been struggling to fill order books as buyers were holding back from bookings. Sources also said that no significant improvement in demand is expected until next year.

“The market is still very quiet,” a service center source said. “EU mills are hungry for orders.”

Additionally, the bearish mood in the market was supported by competitive stocks of local distributors offering European hot-rolled coil at GBP580-600/mt ex-stock West Midlands.

For new EU-origin material, offers and tradable values were reported at GBP610-620/mt DDP West Midlands.

For material originating from Vietnam, offers were reported at GBP590-600/mt DDP West Midlands, while tradable values were reported at GBP580-585/mt DDP West Midlands.

For material originating from Turkey, offers and tradable values were reported at GBP590-610/mt DDP West Midlands.

Platts assessed UK HRC down GBP5/mt on the day at GBP605/mt basis DDP West Midlands May 16.

For the “other countries” UK HRC category, mainly including material from Asia, 89% of the total quota — which is 22,589 mt — has already been used, according to official UK government data.

Platts is part of S&P Global Commodity Insights.

Author: Devbrat Saha,