Amid fluctuations in global market sentiment, Europe continues to remain India’s favourite market for hot rolled coil sales, mainly on the back of better-paying, small-quantity buyers. Elsewhere, because of stiff competition from China and lower bids, Indian mills are unable to attain their desired price, sources tell Kallanish.

According to sources, demand for bulk tonnages is not as aggressive as it was in previous months; moreover, competition from Vietnam and Japan has further narrowed the scope of bulk exports for India.

According to a market participant, an Indian mill received bids for a bulk-tonnage HRC cargo at around $795-800/tonne cfr southern Europe; however, the deal has not yet been concluded. The mill’s target price is noted at $810-815/t cfr southern Europe, netting back to $750-755/t fob India.

Meanwhile, one Indian mill sold around 3,000 tonnes of a mix of regular and 2-metre-wide structural HRC through a trading firm at $830-835/t cfr France. Following this deal, all Indian majors raised their offers to $830-840/t cfr Antwerp or Bilbao for small tonnages of regular-sized structural HRC.

“[Large-] volume bookings in Europe are down on the slowed sentiment prevailing there,” says a trading source. “Customers like small re-rollers and service centres with acute HRC requirements are paying more.”

Indian mills’ appetite for large-volume deals is low, as they are looking to earn more profit by selling smaller lots in Europe. “They [Indian mills] do not have much to offer, hence they are trying to attain the maximum number,” opines another source.

Following a few small-tonnage deals for cold rolled coil in Europe last week at $890-895/t cfr Antwerp, Indian mills are now indicating around $900-910/t cfr Antwerp for DC-01 grade CRC. Meanwhile, offers for Z100 0.58mm zinc-coated steel were noted at $1,040-1,050/t cfr Antwerp.

Amid the presence of competitive Japanese and Chinese offers in the Gulf Cooperation Council, Indian mills could not conclude any large-tonnage deals. Only one Indian mill was reportedly offering in the region, at $735-740/t cfr GCC, and managed to sell only 1,000-2,000t of structural grade HRC at these levels. A source informs Kallanish the mill has withdrawn its offers from the market and currently no Indian mills are active in the region.

“Chinese offers went up this week, hence Indian mills also wanted to raise their offers ... I think because of this, they withdrew from the market,” opines a trading source.

In the Indian domestic market, offers for E250 grade HRC are noted at INR 60,750-61,500/t ($733) ex-Mumbai versus imported HRC offers at INR 59,000/t ex-Mumbai. Meanwhile, offers for E350 and GP coils are being heard at INR 63,000-63,500/t and INR 72,500-73,000/t ex-Mumbai, respectively.

"Mills, after concluding small-tonnage deals in Europe, are mulling raising sentiment in the domestic market, but there is resistance from the buyer’s side; retailers are thus struggling to sell material,” informs a domestic market source.