EUROPE HRC: Daily price index inches up, further rises expected

Domestic prices for hot-rolled coil in Northern Europe edged higher on Tuesday December 10, market sources told Fastmarkets.

Fastmarkets’ steel hot-rolled coil index domestic, ex-works Northern Europe, was €433.08 ($479.14) per tonne on December 10, compared with €432.75 per tonne on Monday.

The index is based on deals for the material heard at €430-435 per tonne ex-works as well as workable prices that have been reported at a similar level. The lower end of official offers of €440 per tonne ex-works were also included in the assessment.

The region’s mills have been offering HRC at €440-450 per tonne ex-works.

Buying activity has somewhat recovered due to restocking which has supported the price rise. But some buyers booked coil earlier this quarter when prices were lower and are expected to take a break until the start of next year.

The price increase is also expected to be supported by a lack of competitive import offers and production cuts across Europe.

Domestic transaction prices for HRC in Southern Europe have moved up to €420-430 per tonne ex-works, compared with Fastmarkets’ weekly price assessment for steel hot-rolled coil, domestic, ex-works Southern Europe, of €415-420 per tonne on December 4.

Italian mills are reported to be targeting prices of €440-450 per tonne ex-works.

In the south of Europe, domestic coil prices will be supported by uncertainty surrounding ArcelorMittal Italia, formerly known as Ilva.

Italian authorities rejected the industrial plan proposed by ArcelorMittal last week, according to market sources. The plan proposed by ArcelorMittal was reported to include massive job cuts by 2023, the idling of blast furnace No 2 and the construction of an electric arc furnace to replace the capacity.

Italian authorities are preparing a new industrial plan, according to market participants, including restarting idled furnaces and targeting a production rise.

In November this year, ArcelorMittal announced its intention to idle equipment at the plant after it decided to exit the purchase deal for the asset. That decision was made after the Italian authorities removed the legal protection necessary for ArcelorMittal to implement its environmental plan without the risk of criminal liability.

Meanwhile, Turkish steelmakers have been reported to offer HRC to Italy at €440-460 per tonne cfr. Buyers have been showing little interest in buying overseas coil at such high prices.

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