W Europe mills keep HRC offers high despite lower E Europe offers

The European HRC market was short of pricing clarity Jan. 24, with buyers still shying away from booking premature orders, and domestic mills still firm on higher prices amid safeguard quota allowance struggle causing a decline in import prices. Vast discrepancies in offers between Eastern and Western European mills have made it difficult for the market to arrive at a standard coil price, sources told S&P Global Platts.

A German steel distributor reported the workable range for hot-rolled coil as Eur930-960/mt ex-works Ruhr, with “special offers not really available anymore,” While a German supplier source heard offers from Eastern mills “firmly below” Eur900/mt ex-works Ruhr.

The same source said Eastern mills were more prone to import exposure and heavily involved in the spot business, whereas Western mills have been keen to keep prices up due to contract negotiations.

Beyond regional spreads, market participants are working around safeguard limitations. Some market participants feel at a loss for options with the safeguard combined with anti-dumping cases. Middle Eastern imports were heard as low as Eur760/mt CIF Antwerp, duty paid, a Benelux Wholesaler source said.

Platts assessed North European HRC prices down Eur5/mt at Eur925/mt ex-works Ruhr, and in Southern Europe, HRC prices were assessed stable at Eur830/mt ex-works Italy.

— Catherine Brown