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Home > MEPS Steel News - 22.02.2017


German manufacturing output goes from strength to strength. Steel demand is high. The busy service centres are enjoying good profit margins as they comfortably pass on mill price rises to their customers and their inventories regularly increase in value. However, any further mill advances may prove more difficult to recoup.

French market participants are fairly optimistic. The auto industry remains strong and a marked improvement in activity is expected in the construction sector, this year, especially in the private housing segment. The general price trend is still upwards as availability remains tight, particularly for galvanised material, with delivery lead times stretching to May/June. Nonetheless, subcontractors and processors struggle to pass on the mill rises.

At the time of MEPS research, Italian mills were not quoting for the second trimester as they awaited clarification of market conditions. Buyers anticipated significant hikes, once producers came back to the market. Customers complain that already extremely long delivery lead times, from suppliers in other parts of Europe, are exacerbated by the late arrival of material. Service centres booked large quantities, at the end of 2016, to cover their requirements for periods one and two. Consequently, they do not need to re-order immediately.

UK basis figures continued to climb for April deliveries, although the hike, at 25 per tonne, was not as steep as expected. Buyers anticipate further rises on coated products. Distributors’ sales are good, with resale values continuing to move up, enabling them to preserve their profitability. Inventory levels are normal-to-high and presold material from continental European suppliers is filling the docks.

Service centres report an improvement in Belgian demand. They will try to resist the producers’ new target prices until they can be certain that the increases can be recouped from end-users. In many instances, service centre stocks are sufficient for now, so it is not necessary to conclude new deals.

Spanish demand is stable with no indications of future weakness. The amount of material purchased by customers in November/December 2016 is adequate to cover their requirements through to the end of the second quarter. Consequently, mill order intake is slower than of late. Buyers are reluctant to settle more business at today’s higher prices. Competitive offers from third country sources exist, although volumes are modest. Moreover, the delivery lead times are almost equivalent to European ones. Distributors still encounter difficulties when trying to pass on mill hikes to the marketplace.

MEPS - European Steel Review - February 2017 Issue

Also See: MEPS - EU Steel Prices Online



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