UK HRC market stable, demand relaxed from holidays

The UK hot-rolled coil market took a pause April 22, with Easter and bank holidays muting demand.

Hot-rolled coil was assessed stable April 22 at GBP1,225/mt on a DDP basis into the West Midlands, UK.

Sources unanimously reported a quiet market due to the Easter and bank holidays, reporting tradable values stable at GBP1,225/mt. Future price direction was less certain, with sources holding mixed sentiments.

“I’d expect a slight softening in the price going forward – nothing dramatic,” a service center source said. “Demand is low but that can change very quickly especially with the holidays at present. There’ll be a lack of excess stock in the market going into Q3 as no one’s restocked yet – we may see an uptick in activity in the coming weeks and prices rise as a result to recoup production costs.”

A mill source reported concern over slab supply and relevant production costs as a barrier to price cuts.

“There’s a threat of a slab increase – the floor may come up to meet us,” the mill source said. “Different dynamics are at play depending on how you source your slab.”

A trader source saw things differently, however.

“I’m in the camp that prices will definitely fall,” the trader said. “We’re only where we are because of the war and the disruption to slab supply chains, producers have largely been able to re-source material and a lot of the panic is gone from the market. We’re in a completely unprecedented situation with all-time high prices – I think the term “correction” is appropriate for where we’ll see price going forward. It will be interesting to see where things go.”

— Benjamin Steven