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Home > MEPS Steel News - 15.08.2013

MEPS PREDICTS A BUMPY RIDE AHEAD FOR EUROPEAN STEEL SECTOR

The European steel sector has endured a very tough time over the past year, mirroring the situation in the wider economy. Steel prices were approximately 10 percent lower in the first seven months of 2013, compared with the corresponding period in 2012. Mill margins have been continuously squeezed. MEPS’ assessment for the price of iron ore fines (Fe 64%, FOB - Brazil) has declined by only 2 percent in the same period.

A number of steelmakers have announced hikes to their list prices, recently, in an attempt to improve their financial position. The MEPS - EU Average All Products Composite transaction value reached a forty month low in July. MEPS believes that modest increases will be achieved after the summer break. Inventories are low and a slight pickup in purchasing is expected to take place to cover customer requirements for the final trimester. Rising scrap costs should enable producers of long products to implement higher selling figures. However, any upward movement is likely to be short-lived. The fourth quarter is traditionally a period of weak demand and prices are predicted to fall in October and November.

A more pronounced upturn in transaction values is foreseen around the turn of the year as customers start to place orders for delivery at the beginning of 2014. Steelmakers are expected to make production cuts, during the winter break. This should lead to more equilibrium between supply and demand in the new year. Consumption should also improve during this period. The top of the price cycle is forecast to occur in the spring because selling figures usually slip back as the holiday season approaches.

Source:
MEPS - European Steel Review

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