Northwest European coil market takes breather

Going into April, prices for coil products have flattened in northwest Europe after the leaps seen since the start of the war in Ukraine. Some observers question whether the leaps were justified in the first place, while others believe the current levels are realistic.

It seems those levels are still the point of orientation – €1,400/tonne ($1,528) for hot rolled coil, €1,500/t for cold rolled coil, and €1,550/t for galvanized coil. A mill source claims that these are the prices achieved at present, with higher levels possibly achieved the further you go north. “I think the market has accepted the price hikes, and that we are at a good balance of supply and demand,” he tells Kallanish, adding that his mill has occasionally achieved €1,600/t for galv.

A Belgian trader concurs in principle, stating that €1,500-€1,550 is the range for galv when concluding for a full quarter. Southern Europe does not really offer lower prices. “We are concluding for April only, at a price lower than €1,500,” he says, meaning the firm is not in the market for deals beyond this month.

Neither side foresees noticeable movement in either direction. While the mill source assumes “stability”, the Belgian manager speaks of a “waiting mode”. This leaves room for other interpretations. Two German buyers find the levels given above are not realistic, as they are too high, and that they will not buy at these values.

A manager at one of the major German distribution groups speaks of a possible “turning point” for prices to fall, but does not see it materialising. There are “too many controversial factors in the market”, he finds.

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