IRON and STEEL
The Argus Italian hot-rolled coil (HRC) index slipped by €1.25/t to €443.25/t ex-works today. The northwest European index was stable at €467.75/t ex-works.
Enquiries from buyers have been scarce this week, market participants said, as expectations for September deliveries are for further discounts, or flat prices in some instances.
Offers in Italy this week stood at €460-480/t delivered, with business last concluded at the lower end of this range and below.
While the future of ArcelorMittal Italia is still uncertain, news that the company and the government are working to secure future operations at Taranto has had little impact on the market.
Import offers from Turkish mills remained in a $500-510/t fob range. But bookings have been concluded below $500/t fob, while European buyers' bids have slipped to the equivalent of $480-485/t fob this week.
Most smaller buyers are unable to secure preferential rates from importers and are preferring to procure from the European market, where demand weakness has pushed European prices down for the past few months.
Shorter lead times and competitive domestic prices have swayed even larger buyers towards fulfilling their requirements with local HRC.
But today a deal was heard to have concluded late last week for a package of Indian HRC and other flat products at €485/t cnf effective to a steel service centre. Market participants said that this is the only way sellers in developing countries can compete with European producers.