Western Europe’s hot rolled coil and cold rolled coil prices continued to rise over the past month.
High demand from China and rising input prices supported prices, market sources told MetalMiner.
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Hot rolled coil prices rise
Hot rolled coil from European mills have transacted in the past two weeks for €1,000-€1,020 ($1,200-$1,225) per metric ton exw for rolling and delivery as far ahead as Q4, sources said. Cold rolled coil for the same production and delivery times transacted for about €1,100 ($1,320).
Prices for hot rolled coil in late March reached about €900 ($1,140-1,200). Meanwhile, CRC reached approximately €980 ($1,180).
Deals on imports of HRC over May from India and Turkey concluded at about $1,100 per ton cost and freight (CFR) European ports for delivery in June and July, a second trader stated. That marked an increase from $900-$910 in late March.
A Russian steelmaker also let some steel go into Europe at prices lower than the imports from Asia, another European trading source reported, though no other sources told MetalMiner about this.
The Russians only concluded those transactions in the run-up to Russia’s May holidays. This year, the holidays last 10 days and include May Day on May 1 and Victory Day on May 9, the European trading source warned.
A construction boom in the country has also made Russia’s domestic market the end-user for its rolled product, the source added.
Higher input costs
The benchmark iron ore price, which has helped support high prices for finished products, reached $186.50 per metric ton CFR Qingdao on Wednesday.
That price is down from heights of $193 last week due to China’s May 1-5 Labor Day holiday. However, analysts have not ruled out the benchmark exceeding $200.
Last week, China also canceled its rebate for the 13% value-added tax on HRC exports from the country. The cancelation went into effect May 1.
While those moves might lend support to prices in Europe, industry watchers and traders are questioning how much further HRC could continue its upward trajectory.
Prices in Europe might continue rising for now, sources said. However, they warned that buyers are becoming more cautious about committing to new deals.
“To a certain extent, it will be a little more difficult because of credit lines, which are reaching their limits,” the second trader said.
“They are not just securing the quantity as earlier,” he added.
The first trader held a similar view and said that, while transactions have occurred at their current levels, buyers are now becoming more cautious.
“They are looking a little more deeply into the issue, such as whether they really need this tonnage,” the first trader noted.
Brazil’s expected entry into the European steel market with its own exports in H2 could put more downward pressure on steel prices in Europe, one industry watcher stated.
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