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Coal Mining Coal News Hot Rolled Coil HRC Steel

European HRC prices decrease further as buyers expect mills to trim output

Prices for European hot-rolled coil fell further on Monday March 4 amid slow trading. Mills in Northern Europe kept their official offers in the range of €730-750 ($791-813) per tonne ex-works, but they still gave discounts on firm bids. Demand for HRC remained sluggish; buyers continued to postpone restocking, waiting for further price drops, market sources said. No major deals were heard in the market.

Sources estimated tradable prices in the range of €700-730 per tonne ex-works. Fastmarkets calculated its daily steel HRC index, domestic, exw Northern Europe at €715 per tonne on Monday, down by €0.50 per tonne from €715.50 on Friday March 1. The index was down by €3.75 per tonne week on week and by €46 per tonne month on month. Mills might have to cut output to stop the downtrend in prices, several buyer sources in Germany said.

“Demand is unlikely to rebound [soon],” one German buyer source said. Mills would probably need to cut production due to low demand and falling prices, a buyer source from the Benelux area said.

“But [trimming production] will not happen immediately because some mills have just restarted operations. They will need a few months or even half a year to take such a decision,” the buyer source added.

Several European steelmakers restarted blast furnaces in early 2024 that were idled in late 2023. In Southern Europe, Fastmarkets’ daily steel HRC index, domestic, exw Italy was calculated at €694.00 per tonne on Monday, down by €13.92 per tonne from €707.92 per tonne on March 1. The index was down by €21.50 per tonne week on week and by €61 per tonne month on month.

In Italy, HRC offers were heard mainly at €700 per tonne ex-works and some buyer sources reported even lower offers at €680-690 per tonne ex-works. But other industry sources could not confirm that offers below €700 per tonne ex-works were widespread in the spot market.

According to Fastmarkets’ sources, these lower prices might be offered to clients such as big stockholders and steel service centers for more significant tonnages.

“I cannot say prices below €700 [per tonne ex-works] are widely available in the spot market now, but we are moving in that direction,” a distributor in Italy said. Tradable prices for HRC in Italy were in the range of €680-700 per tonne ex-works, market sources said.

Import offers from Vietnam to Italy with May shipment and end-July delivery were heard at €610-620 per tonne CFR. Similar offers were heard from Egypt for June-delivery material. India was also offering HRC at similar prices, but the country’s utilization of EU’s import quotas was uncertain, because European buyers have already purchased significant quantities from India. Sales of India-origin HRC for first- and second-quarter delivery to Europe amounted to more than 850,000 tonnes, according to buyer estimates.

The EU’s January-March import allowance for India-origin HRC was 574,440 tonnes, including 279,777 tonnes rolled over from the last quarter of 2023. The April-June import allowance was 294,662 tonnes.

Published by: Julia Bolotova, Darina Kahramanova