EUROPE HRC WRAP: Long lead times, lack of import offers drive domestic prices further up

Domestic prices for steel hot-rolled coil increased in Northern Europe in the week to Friday November 13, due to good order books at European mills amid long lead times and limited offers of imported coil.

Fastmarkets calculated its daily steel hot-rolled coil index, domestic, exw Northern Europe, at €525.10 ($621.33) per tonne on November 13, up by €12.57 per tonne week on week and by €31.35 per tonne month on month.

Friday’s index was based on deals and achievable prices heard at €520-530 per tonne ex-works.

The region’s steelmakers have been offering HRC at €540-550 per tonne, but this range was not included in the index because no deals were confirmed at that price.

Northern European mills have been offering March-April shipment HRC.

Fastmarkets’ weekly price assessment for steel HRC, domestic, exw Southern Europe, was €485-510 per tonne on November 11, up by €5-10 per tonne week on week from €480-500 per tonne.

Deals and “workable” prices in Italy were heard at €485-500 per tonne ex-woks, while official offers were reported at €510-520 per tonne ex-works.

In Spain, official offers were heard at €530-550 per tonne ex-works, while achievable prices were estimated by buyers at €510-520 per tonne ex-works.

In Southern Europe, Italian mills were offering January-February production coil.

In addition, European steelmakers were focused on sales to the automotive industry, which has been showing healthy demand, which meant that less material was available for the spot market.

No competitive import offers were heard in Northern Europe, but market sources said that delivery times for overseas coil have been longer than those for domestic mills, so prices have been either higher or comparable to those from European producers.

Buyers in Southern Europe were showing interest in HRC from Turkey, despite an anti-dumping case being opened into the material. The European Commission (EC) was expected to settle anti-dumping duties for HRC from Turkey at 3-7%, according to sources.

On Friday, the EC started registration of HRC imports from Turkey, making it possible for the European authorities to set definitive duties retroactively. This, combined with the fact that the current safeguard quota for Turkish HRC imports has been almost completely taken up, was likely to make European buyers turn away from the product.

Last week, Tata Steel confirmed that it was in discussions for the sale of its HRC-producing IJmuiden plant in the Netherlands to Swedish steelmaker SSAB.

The acquisition of IJmuiden by SSAB would allow the Swedish steelmaker to enter the Northern European market for HRC, including the Benelux countries and Germany, and would allow it to increase its market share, sources said.

They added that consolidation among European producers would allow them to better control pricing policy and production costs.