Low priced steel offers to the US from Europe are unlikely to lead to increased volumes as a quota agreement limits the continent's ability to sell significant volumes of steelinto the US, market sources say.
This week one US service center reported being offered French HRC (hot rolled coil) into Houston at $1,100/short ton (st) ($1,213/metric tonne) ddp. A Midwest service center reported paying $1,060/st ddp for HRC from an EU mill into Burns Harbor, Indiana. Section 232 tariffed prices to the US are between $1,300 and $1,500 ddp Houston.
Under an agreement between the US and the EU to lift US Section 232 25pc steel tariffs in exchange for quotas that went into effect on 1 January, France has an HRC quota of 4,721t for the second quarter that runs through 30 June, according to the US Department of Commerce.
The low prices have been dismissed by some market participants, who say they are likely to have little impact on the US market because of lack of potential volumes.Europe's total nontariffed export quota for all products to the US is 3.3mn t for 2022, split among its member states and among 54 products.
EU's second quarter quota for exports of HRC to the US is just 65,166t, of which nearly half is for the Netherlands and 10,070t for Germany.
The quota for exports of cold rolled coil (CRC) from Europe is 57,024t, while the hot dipped galvanized (HDG) coil quota is 41,135t.
US prices have also come under pressure in recent weeks as raw material constraints appear to have been overblown.
The Argus US Midwest and southern HRC assessments were down by 5.2pc to $1,421.50/st on 10 May since hitting a high of $1,500/st in April.
European prices have also been under significant pressure as the automotive industry there is dealing with parts shortages, cutting into steel demand.
The Argus HRC ex-works Northwest Europe assessment has declined by 22pc since hitting a peak of $1,409/st in late-March and is down to $1,099/st on 10 May.
Countries can export steel volumes above the quota limits, but they would be subject to the 25pc tariff.
In 2021, US imports of HRC totaled 3.4mnt, with CRC imports at 1.71mn t and HDG imports at 2.69mn t.
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