Global Hot Rolled Coil Market Remains Flat Amidst Rising Buyers' Concern
- 20-Apr-2023 12:01 PM
- Journalist: Robert Hume
In the third week of April 2023, Hot Rolled Coil prices showed stagnancy in the Global market as buyers were cautious and limited their purchases to contracted volumes, leading to a lack of momentum. Hot Rolled Coil mills continued to maintain offer prices at the higher level of their range, but they are willing to negotiate lower levels. On April 17, major steelmakers were inactive in the domestic Hot Rolled coil market, with full order books and technical issues at some plants causing delays. Despite limited domestic supply, Europe-based buyers remained pessimistic due to uncertain demand and lower import offers. The Global Hot-Rolled Coil market was quiet at the start of this week, with import prices declining and subdued demand casting doubts on future prospects. However, traded volumes remained low as buyers continued to make hand-to-mouth bookings and purchase only according to their immediate needs.
Hot Rolled Coil prices in Europe are declining due to an uncertain demand outlook and lower import offers. Trading activity in the region has been slow as buyers and producers return after a recent holiday break. The scarcity of available European offers is due to various factors, including technical issues at some mills, like fires at two blast furnaces owned by ArcelorMittal in Spain and France and scheduled maintenance at mills such as Tata Steel in the Netherlands and ArcelorMittal in Poland. The fires at ArcelorMittal's mills in March have caused significant delays in the company's spot availability of commodity-grade Hot Rolled Coil, which is not expected to be available until September. The current domestic Hot Rolled Coil prices are supported by rising demand from the automotive industry, although some sources suggest that larger buyers, including carmakers, are mainly seeking volumes to substitute orders they made with mills facing production disruptions. Overall, the Hot Rolled Coil market in Europe remains challenging due to ongoing supply chain disruptions and uncertainty around the demand outlook.
Buyers in the US market are reporting fewer price offers as they rely more on their contracts to meet demand, leading to a shrinkage in Hot Rolled Coil Midwest lead times from 7-9 weeks to 7-8 weeks. This trend has continued into early June, with some large service centers slowing their Hot Rolled Coil contract buying volume after reaching maximum levels at the beginning of the year. However, some buyers are still filling inventory gaps with excess material from the market. Mills have been delivering Hot Rolled Coils early, in some cases up to four weeks ahead of schedule, but imported material remains unattractive to domestic buyers due to longer lead times. As a result, Import Hot Rolled Coil pricing also fell this week.
Hot Rolled Coil prices in the Chinese market continue to remain weak, with no improvement in apparent weekly consumption and falling futures. Market sources report that both domestic and export Hot Rolled Coil prices hit two-month and three-month lows last week. Some steelmakers have reduced their production due to the meager margins and sluggish demand from end-users. Many end-users are hesitant to purchase Hot Rolled Coils, fearing further price declines, while most traders have a pessimistic view of coil prices.
ChemAnalyst expects Hot Rolled Coil prices likely to remain weak in the coming month due to the sluggish demand and excess supply. Despite the positive margins, some mills have trimmed their production to manage inventory levels. However, the overall output of Hot Rolled Coil remains high, and mills are likely to maintain production in the absence of any significant changes in the market. In such a scenario, a sustained demand recovery would be necessary to prevent a further decline in Hot Rolled Coil prices.