Domestic prices for hot-rolled coil in Northern Europe were fairly stable day on day on Friday July 31 due to the seasonal market slowdown, but sentiment in the market remained positive, sources told Fastmarkets.
***Hot-rolled coil index
Fastmarkets’ daily steel hot-rolled coil index, domestic, exw Northern Europe, was calculated at €۴۱۲٫۵۰ ($۴۸۶٫۳۰) per tonne on Friday, down by €۰٫۴۵ per tonne from €۴۱۲٫۹۵ per tonne on Thursday.
Friday’s index was based on a deal heard at €۴۱۰-۴۱۵ per tonne and “workable” prices heard at €۴۱۰-۴۲۰ per tonne.
Official offers of HRC from the region’s steelmakers were also heard at €۴۴۰-۴۵۰ per tonne, but buyers did not consider those prices workable. Offers at this level indicated that mills intended to increase their prices, market sources said.
Friday’s index was up by €۴٫۲۹ per tonne week on week and by €۱۵٫۶۲ per tonne month on month.
Italian steelmakers have been trading and offering HRC at €۳۹۰-۴۱۰ per tonne, sources told Fastmarkets. Buyers noted that achievable prices were slowly moving toward €۴۰۰ per tonne, with producers reluctant to accept lower prices.
Domestic prices were expected to remain fairly stable in August, market sources said, due to the seasonal slowdown in buying activity and scheduled maintenance outages. Sentiment remained positive, and market sources believed that prices will start to rise in late August or early September when buyers and steelmakers return to the market.
A lack of competitive imports will also support a recovery in prices, market sources said.
***EU’s safeguard measures
In addition, the EU’s introduction of revised safeguard measures on July 1 will make importing more difficult, market sources said. The European Commission replaced yearly quotas for HRC imports with quarterly per-country quotas.
European HRC prices have been recovering more slowly than prices in other markets. As a result, offers from traditional suppliers outside the EU have not been competitive over the past couple of weeks, sources told Fastmarkets.
Earlier this week, trade unions at Slovakian flat steel producer US Steel Kosice announced a strike alert, but no such action was taken and production was not affected, a spokesman for the producer said.
“Negotiations about our collective labor agreement are going on, with the help of a mediator,” the spokesman said. “According to Slovak law, a mediator will take couple of weeks to prepare his proposals. We believe in agreement and cooperation [and] will use every possible method to reach an agreement.”
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