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Home > MEPS Steel News - 17.12.2013

EU STEEL PRICE MARKET ROUNDUP FROM MEPS

As anticipated, the basis increase proposed by the European flat products producers for the first quarter 2014 has not been secured for January production. Demand remains slow across the region. Negotiations for the remainder of period one are ongoing.

Not all deals for delivery in the first trimester have been concluded, in Germany. However, those companies that have settled report a “no change” situation, certainly for January business. Some mills are still hoping to charge more for February/March. Demand is still slow, although forecasts for 2014 are better. Stock levels are normal, with a number of service centres trying to offload material at cheap prices before their fiscal year-end. This could lead to a period of restocking in the New Year.

In France, distributors are refilling their inventories for the start of 2014. However, prices for the first quarter have not yet been finally agreed as market participants wait for the outcome of the contract negotiations with the auto industry. Mill attitudes towards first trimester basis values range from ArcelorMittal’s proposed €30 per tonne increase to stabilisation or even a decrease. Forecasts still predict a slight improvement in steel market activity next year.

Italian domestic demand is weak with few transactions being concluded in the final few weeks of this year. There is still a large amount of economic uncertainty which is especially affecting the auto and construction sectors. Activity in the latter industry is expected to reduce again in 2014, due to a lack of investment. The proposed price rises have succeeded in halting any further deterioration.

A number of UK distributors state that business levels in November were not quite as buoyant as the previous month but were still reasonably good. Resale values are firm, leading to improved profit margins. The rise proposed by the mills for the start of next year has not been charged for January rollings. However, if demand continues to strengthen it may well be implemented for February or March. Importers are continuing to use exchange rate volatility to their advantage.

Source:
MEPS - European Steel Review

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