EUROPE HRC WRAP: Domestic prices start to dip on weaker demand, global declines

Prices for domestic steel hot-rolled coil decreased in Northern Europe in the week ended Friday January 22, due to slower buying activity among distributors and a global price decrease.

Fastmarkets calculated its daily steel hot-rolled coil index, domestic, exw Northern Europe, at €711.25 ($865.61) per tonne on Friday, down by €4.75 per tonne week on week, but up by €46.25 per tonne month on month.

The calculation of Friday’s index was based on achievable prices heard at €700-720 per tonne ex-works.

In Southern Europe, in the meantime, prices have increased week on week, but were likely to stabilize at the current level in the short term, market sources said.

Fastmarkets’ weekly price assessment for steel HRC, domestic, exw Southern Europe, was €700-715 per tonne ex-works on January 20, up by €15-40 per tonne week on week from €660-700 per tonne.

The assessment was based on deals and achievable prices heard in the market.

Market sources believed that domestic prices would either stabilize at current levels or fall a little further in the next couple of weeks, because steelmakers currently have good order books and feel no pressure to give substantial discounts.

As a result, market activity in the region has been low, with buyers taking a cautious approach to new deals because of risks related to price declines and mills limiting trade due to their strong order books.

Northern European mills have been reported to be offering either end-second-quarter-rolling HRC or to be completely sold out for second-quarter production. Italian steelmakers, in the meantime, have been offering and trading April-May rolling coil, according to market sources.

Sentiment turned negative in the EU coil market following a change in the trend in the international finished steel and raw materials markets, sources said.

Fastmarkets’ steel hot-rolled coil index export, fob main port China, was $640.59 per tonne on January 22, down by $7.20 per tonne week on week and by $62.37 per tonne month on month.

Import offers have been fairly stable, although suppliers were also said to be keen to give discounts on firm bids. Nonetheless, offers on overseas coil remained high when compared with domestic prices.

The latest offers of HRC from India were heard at €690-700 per tonne cfr Antwerp.

And Turkish mills have been offering HRC at $775 per tonne cfr, with the price excluding preliminary anti-dumping duties.

One source said that a Turkish mill sold HRC to Southern Europe at $800 per tonne fob, including the anti-dumping duties.

The European Commission set preliminary anti-dumping duties at 4.8-7.6% on HRC from Turkey earlier this month.

Offers of HRC from India and Japan have been heard at €680-685 per tonne cfr Italian ports, down by about €5-10 per tonne week on week.

On January 18, the European Commission started a review of existing anti-dumping measures applied to hot-rolled coil produced by Russian steelmaker Severstal.