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HRC prices in Europe stable below mills’ target, CRC up - 13 March 2012

Hot rolled coil prices in northwestern Europe have remained stable during the last week, as sources in Germany and Belgium report deals made for May delivery in the range of €540-560/tonne ($710-737/t) ex-works base. Mills are holding firm to their higher asking prices, but large service centres and stockists told Platts Steel Business Briefing that these have not been fully achieved yet.

A major German stockholder said he had agreed with European producers its May HRC supply at €540/t ex-works base, stressing that this level “shows stability in the market”. A slightly smaller stockholder in Benelux quoted HRC spot prices at €560/t ex-works base, saying prices are increasing “step by step”.

Meanwhile, some traders remain sceptical: a Swiss-based source reported that HRC was available in the market at a price “below €550/t ex-works”.

A French distributor confirms that, despite demand being slow and new purchases being postponed, there haven’t been any new purchases below €540-550/t ex-works base for new produced prime HRC. “We have also been informed that ArcelorMittal distribution increased the price list for its second choice coils by €30/t,” he added.

Outsell prices also remained stable, with one distributor reported hearing S235 HRC sheets offered at €595/t ex-works in France, but the average asking price was €620/t ex-works.

The Italians, who are usually the most competitive in Europe, are reported to be selling at €520-530/t ex-works base. This is not affecting the northern European market, after having added transport costs.

Meanwhile, cold rolled coils are reported to have risen slightly compared with last week, as the German source quoted purchases for May delivery at €630-640/t ex-works base.


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