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Shortage, Minimal Imports Lift European Stainless Coil Prices

European stainless steel cold and hot rolled coil, sheet and tube prices are increasing again this month due to persistent shortages, market participants tell Kallanish.

European mills are quoting CRC for January and February 2022 delivery at €3,300-3,550/tonne ($3,890-4,185) delivered, depending on material quality and volumes. HRC is offered at €3,100-3,300/t delivered. Buyers are not negotiating prices, instead focusing negotiations on delivery. The higher point of the range is usually paid by service centres for high grades.

The short supply situation is not helped by imports being uncompetitive, particularly Chinese CRC material that is proposed at €3,700-3,800/t cfr southern European port. As a consequence, European stainless CRC is particularly tight, sources say.

The worst has yet to come in September and October, as little material is being bought on the import market. Buying coils from countries outside the EU has become a challenge also because of the shortage of vessels. Freight companies prefer shorter voyages where they can charge and leave in one day.

Meanwhile, distributors and service centres across Europe are also increasing prices for their products, in line with coils values. Sources report delivery delays caused by European mills’ long lead times, together with relatively low stocks in western European countries, Kallanish notes.

Natalia Capra France