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ArcelorMittal continues steel price rally, hikes coil offers by Eur20/mt

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ArcelorMittal continues steel price rally, hikes coil offers by Eur20/mt

Highlights

HRC offers now at Eur920/mt, HDG/CRC at Eur1070/mt across Europe

Bullish sentiment continues among European flat steel market

Persistent lack of material remains headache for market

Major steelmaker ArcelorMittal has increased its coils offers by Eur20/mt, raising hot-rolled coil offers to Eur920/mt and cold-rolled and hot-dipped galvanized offers to Eur1,070/mt across Europe, sources told S&P Global Platts April 7.

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The increase follows a series of price hikes over recent weeks and bullish sentiment across the European market. Platts' daily assessment for HRC EXW Ruhr has increased Eur215/mt since the beginning of the year to an all-time high of Eur880/mt on April 8.

The Platts Southern Europe assessment similarly is up Eur217.50/mt so far this year and reached an all-time high at Eur875/mt EXW Italy on April 8.

The fresh hike was not a surprise and is seen as an indication that prices are likely to increase further in the short-term amid no easing of material shortages. Sources said prior to the news of the offer hike that they were expecting the market to keep rising, with some saying Eur950/mt could be possible.

One German stockholder said that the offer increase would not have an impact on current trades yet, and that the market continues to be bullish.

The Eur20/mt increase by ArcelorMittal, which is smaller than its previous hike of Eur50/mt for HRC, could take some of the heat out of the market after rapid rises recently which have seen some buyers struggle to finance purchases of steel with banks.

"We heard they were going to raise offers to Eur940-950/mt, eventually they went to Eur920/mt so they see it getting slower," said an Italy-based producer.

Price sentiment bullish, with no shortage easing in sight

"It is complete madness on CRC and HDG, there's no availability. HRC availability is still short but it's not as desperate," an Italy-based mill source said.

Sources told Platts that most mills were out of the market for CRC and HDG due to lack of availability.

The Platts German steel sentiment survey conducted among German producers, distributors, traders and end-buyers at the start of April, the index for steel price development stood at 92, indicating a notable expansion -- an index of 50 indicates stability -- from March when the index tallied 73.

With German producers needing to ration stocks and slash allocations to contract holders, the sentiment survey showed participants expected further declines in inventories, with the index at 40, just slightly up from March at 39.

With delays expected on additional capacity, the index for production stood at 50 indicating stability, slightly down from March at 52.