Italian HRC prices unchanged amid uncertain market conditions

Thursday, 02 April 2020 17:50:31 (GMT+3)   |   Brescia

Due to the measures introduced by the Italian government to deal with the coronavirus emergency, the Italian steel market is still dormant, as the Italian steel producers' association Federacciai has underlined recently. In the context in which consumption has almost dropped to zero and the few producers that are still open have slowed down their activities, domestic hot rolled coils (HRC) prices have trended sideways week on week at €440 €/mt ex-works. "All the big customers are idled and the consumption on which we can possibly rely is only about three percent of the total," commented a source at one service center. He added, "We are trying to understand how to work in the space allowed by the government's decrees and we are collecting the relevant documentation in order to ask to do it. We are well stocked, but the customers we could send to are very few." The same source also stressed that lots of customers are suffering from liquidity problems, which will certainly continue to exert their weight when lockdown measures are lifted and activities restart.

Looking at the producers’ side, some sources said that the former Ilva plant (run by ArcelorMittal Italia) at this time may mainly produce slabs to be transformed into finished products when things get better. Meanwhile, Arvedi is said to be selling coils to Germany. In the face of strong uncertainty, the import market is also generally silent. However, sources report that an Italian pipe producer is aiming to buy HRC at €400/mt CFR, while Turkish producers may be willing to accept a price of €415/mt CFR. Lastly, in northern Europe, prices have decreased by €10/mt on the back of the closures of many large customers, especially in the automotive and household appliances sectors. Currently, HRC transaction prices are at €460-465/mt ex-works.

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