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Home > MEPS Steel News - 20.09.2013


The German market reached the bottom in July. Since then, the mills have been firm on implementing rises. Although a number of companies reported a busy July/August, it is not clear whether real consumption has improved significantly. However, there is certainly more speculative purchasing taking place as prices increase and delivery lead times extend. Customers are accepting the mills’ proposals because their options are limited.

In France, many service centres have been replenishing inventories. Large buyers are reported to have started purchasing as early as the end of July, as well as through August, before prices rose. Customers now face generally longer delivery lead times, following production cuts and shutdowns. However, it is too early to say whether the improvement in mills’ order books means that increased end-user activity is sustainable. Implementation of the higher prices has been relatively slow, with few volumes being booked at the beginning of September.

Although the Italian economy is showing only small signs of recovery, it has at least stabilised. The steelmakers have successfully secured increases. However, the initiative was driven by climbing raw material costs rather than any significant uptick in demand. Suppliers are hoping that another small hike will be accepted in October. Certainly, import volumes have been falling.

July appeared to be the low point in the UK market, both in terms of mood and prices. A number of distributors report that business levels improved substantially during July and August and that September has started well. Basis numbers began to pick up during the summer and further advances cannot be ruled out. There are some negative views among market participants regarding fourth quarter developments should Brazil and India start selling more aggressively, following their currency devaluations. So far, resale values have not gone up as quickly as mill figures.

Business is extremely quiet in Spain, where the return from the long holidays appears to be still underway with customers adopting a wait and see approach. There were few developments during the summers but buyers who did purchase small quantities have paid slightly more. Service centres' resale values have not reacted to market movements so far. There are few third country imports being booked.

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