EUROPE HRC: Domestic prices stable although mills insist on rises

The domestic price of hot-rolled coil in Northern Europe was unchanged on Friday December 13 although mills continue to insist on further price increases, market sources told Fastmarkets.

Fastmarkets’ daily steel hot-rolled coil index domestic, ex-works Northern Europe was calculated at €432.08 ($481.10) per tonne on Friday, unchanged from Thursday.

The assessment is based on “workable” prices heard at €430-435 per tonne ex-works, as well as the lower end of offers at €440 per tonne ex-works. Official offers have been heard at €440-450 per tonne ex-works.

One mill was able to offer material at prices at least €20 per tonne below the average offer level, some sources said. Other sources, however, believe that even if there were offers at lower prices they would not be available in the market for long because the steelmaker was eager to sell some material.

Domestic HRC prices in Northern Europe are supported by combination of production cuts, rising prices in the south of Europe and high import offers.

Several European mills, including ArcelorMittal and Salzgitter in Germany, SSAB in Sweden and Arvedi in Italy, have announced stoppages to balance supply and demand. Other steelmakers are also managing coil product output to meet demand, sources said.

Meanwhile, domestic prices in Southern Europe jumped this week, driven by a rise in import offers and growing uncertainty about ArcelorMittal Italia.

Fastmarkets’ weekly price assessment for steel hot-rolled coil, domestic, ex-works Southern Europe was €420-430 per tonne on December 11, up by €5-10 per tonne from €415-420 per tonne previously.

The assessment reflects “workable” prices heard in the market, with steelmakers targeting €440-450 per tonne ex-works, making the official offers in the south similar to those in Northern Europe.

Import prices have been also growing, with two deals heard to Southern Europe at $487 and $490 per tonne fob, the equivalent of €455-460 per tonne cfr Southern European ports, taking into the account freight rate of about $20 per tonne.

Fastmarkets’ weekly price assessment for steel hot-rolled coil, export, fob main port Turkey was $487-500 per tonne on December 13, rising from $450-460 per tonne previously.

And offers from Russia to the north of Europe were heard at €450-455 per tonne cfr Antwerp. This compares with the latest deal for the same material at €440 per tonne cfr Antwerp. Both prices include anti-dumping duties.