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Home > MEPS Steel News - 21.11.2013


Flat products demand is slow across the region. Customers, wanting to keep stocks low for the remainder of the year, are purchasing cautiously. Recently, many steelmakers have been prepared to accept slightly lower prices as they try to fill their rolling schedules. In early November, ArcelorMittal announced its intention to lift first quarter 2014 basis values by 30/40 per tonne, citing higher raw material costs and anticipated customer restocking. Other suppliers are likely to make similar moves. Many buyers believe it unlikely that the increase will be secured for January production.

In Germany, steelmakers have found it impossible to maintain basis figures at the higher level achieved at the start of this quarter. Mill order intake has slowed as companies reduce stocks and only buy what they require for the next two months. Service centres will probably need to purchase in early January which could lead to a small uptick in prices then.

There has been a downward price adjustment in France but some stabilisation is now expected. On the distribution side, resale values are still depressed. Demand remains moderate, following the slight upward momentum of September. End-users are still booking material for the short term. Large service centres are reported to be keeping their stocks as low as possible.

In Italy, overall demand is poor. There is a great deal of competition between suppliers for the small amount of business available. Following a modest upturn in late October, there is now downward pressure on ex-mill prices. Moreover, producers are concerned that if basis figures rise further, this will attract more third country imports. Service centres report slow order intake and reducing resale values.

There is a slightly negative price trend in the UK spot market at present. Most quarterly contracts were finalised at the higher figures reported in October. A number of stockists are reporting better demand conditions across a wide variety of customers, together with improving resale values. Traders have very little material at the ports so supply has tightened. For new business, importers are using exchange rate volatility to their advantage.

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