EUROPE HRC WRAP: ArcelorMittal pushes offers up, sentiment bullish

Prices for domestic steel hot-rolled coil increased slightly in Northern Europe in the week to Friday January 8, with ArcelorMittal pushing its offer prices further upward.

Market sources expected that domestic prices would continue to rise through January with buyers facing continuing supply shortages.

Fastmarkets calculated its daily steel hot-rolled coil index, domestic, exw Northern Europe, at €667.50 ($815.36) per tonne on Friday, up by €2.50 per tonne week on week and by €90.00 per tonne month on month.

It was calculated based on achievable prices heard at €660-670 per tonne ex-works.

At the beginning of the week, on January 4, official offers were heard at €700 per tonne ex-works, but these were not included in the calculation because they had not been accepted by buyers. It is also standard practice for European mills to announce big price rises to try and trigger smaller increases in transaction prices.

ArcelorMittal increased its offer for HRC to €730 per tonne ex-works on Friday, up by €30 per tonne from previous offers. The new prices would be applicable for buyers in all regions of the EU with immediate effect, sources said.

Fastmarkets’ weekly price assessment for steel HRC, domestic, exw Southern Europe, was €640-660 per tonne on January 6, unchanged week on week but up by €60-70 per tonne month on month.

The assessment was based on deals and offers heard in the second half of December, since when there have be no new transactions or offers made, sources said.

Last week, market activity had not yet recovered fully after the Christmas and New Year holidays across Europe, market sources said.

Bullish sentiment has been supported by reduced availability of HRC in the market. Output from European steelmakers has been lower than normal following shutdowns during Covid-19-related lockdowns last year. The increase in production rates was expected to become visible in the market in the second quarter of 2021.

Northern European producers were reported to be sold out until second-quarter rolling.

Import offers have been limited by the effects of safeguarding and anti-dumping measures in the EU, and those offers available in the market have been high compared with domestic prices due to the global uptrend.

Last week, the European Commission set provisional anti-dumping duties at 4.8-7.6% on hot-rolled coil originating from Turkey.

Some market sources said that traditional non-EU suppliers preferred to sell to alternative markets because, although the recovery in European prices has been substantial, exporters could still sell their material elsewhere at higher prices.


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