EUROPE HRC WRAP: Domestic prices up, ArcelorMittal raises offers

Domestic prices for hot-rolled coil in Europe increased in the week to Friday June 25, despite slower trading activity in the market with buyers holding back from making new deals.

At the end of last week, ArcelorMittal increased its offers for coil products by €30 ($36) per tonne across Europe. New offers for HRC reached €1,200 ($1,432) per tonne ex-works, with offers on cold-rolled and hot-dipped galvanized coil moving up to €1,350 per tonne ex-works.

Fastmarkets calculated its daily steel hot-rolled coil index, domestic, exw Northern Europe, at €1,191.14 per tonne on June 25, up by €39.14 per tonne week on week and by €51.97 per tonne month on month.

The index was based on deals and achievable prices heard at €1,150-1,200 per tonne ex-works, and offers heard at €1,200 per tonne ex-works.

Fastmarkets calculated its corresponding daily steel HRC index, domestic, exw Italy, at €1,153.57 per tonne on June 25, up by €17.57 per tonne week on week, and up by €44.60 per tonne month on month.

Offers and achievable prices for fourth-quarter-delivery HRC from local mills were heard ranging between €1,080 per tonne ex-works and €1,200 per tonne ex-works.

Although demand from end-consumers was still strong, distributors have been reluctant to book bigger lots of coil at current prices, market sources said.

Most distributors were reported to have enough stock to last a couple of months and were not very active in the market. Problems with credit lines were also restricting buying activity.

New transactions for fourth-quarter-rolling HRC have been made for smaller lots of 200-300 tonnes for either back-to-back business or to re-stock specific material, according to market participants.

Italy’s Council of State has overruled a decision by the Court of Lecce, which means that flat steel producer Acciaierie d’Italia, formerly known as ArcelorMittal Italia, will be allowed to continue its flat steel production operations.

On February 13, ArcelorMittal Italia was ordered to close the hot area of the Taranto plant in southern Italy within 60 days. But the steelmaker submitted an appeal to the Council of State in Rome, and in mid-March the producer was granted temporary permission to continue production.

European authorities toughened their trade safeguard measures last week.

The European Commission (EC) confirmed its plan to extend the existing safeguard measures on steel imported into the EU by three years in an official announcement made late in the afternoon of June 25.

European buyers have criticized the decision to extend these safeguard measures at a time when most industrial sectors were struggling from material shortages and, consequently, high prices.

HRC offers from Turkey, Russia and Japan were heard within the range of €980-1,020 per tonne.

Indian suppliers offered HRC to Southern Europe at €1,050 per tonne, including 25% duty, sources said, the same as last week.

The EC has also opened an anti-dumping investigation into imports of hot-dipped galvanized flat steel from Turkey and Russia.