ArcelorMittal has increased hot-rolled coil prices by Eur50/mt to Eur700/mt EXW Ruhr on the spot market with immediate effect, sources told S&P Global Platts Dec. 17.
The hike is a continuation of the current price rally the European steel market is seeing. HRC prices are now on a 9-year high with the Platts index at Eur639.50/mt EXW Ruhr Dec 16.
The Eur700/mt offer is valid across Europe and for April delivery. Hot-dipped galvanized offers have also been increased to Eur800/mt Europe-wide.
The market is currently gripped by supply tightness with buyers scrambling for material as import offers are on a par with European prices or even higher.
December has been busier than usual due to supply shortage and the price rally. The move by ArcelorMittal is ending the year with a confidence that once market participants will come back from their seasonal holiday, the market will be buoyant.
Market participants said there is a push for closing deals ahead of year-end with mills trying to "maximize" the momentum. Mills-side sources said they have a backlog of orders and buyers waiting to book.
"It's going fast it's bizarre. ArcelorMittal could be reality if there would be any material around," said a source.
Sources have previously been anticipating further hikes and worry that the supply tightness will further intensify well into next year as blast furnaces going on-stream will be outweighed by maintenance works and decommissioning.
"We must take care not to buy what we see," said a buyer source.
Other stockholding sources have however said they will need to buy regardless and have to absorb mill hikes with no other alternative around at the time being.
Source: S&P Platts