MIXED PRICE SENTIMENT EMERGES IN THE
DEVELOPING STEEL MARKETS - MEPS
Russian trading houses have criticised the aggressive
pricing positions adopted by their domestic suppliers. Producers plan to
implement another price increase in March, citing the onset of the construction
season and the potential for sales in overseas markets, following the recent
depreciation of the rouble against the US dollar.
Distributor trade in India has been unsettled by pre-budget expectations and
weak market fundamentals. However, transaction values have hardened slightly as
a result of concerted efforts by domestic steelmakers to cover production costs
and improve their profitability. The weakness of the rupee against the US dollar
continues to dampened import activity.
Chinese long product selling values have softened. Consumption volumes in the
post-Lunar New Year period were weaker than forecast. Inventories throughout the
supply chain have expanded as a result.
The Ukrainian domestic steel market continues to be lacklustre. The situation
has been further aggravated by deteriorating economic fundamentals and the
current political unrest. Local steelmakers have been unable to hold on to some
flat product prices during recent settlements.
The business climate in Turkey has deteriorated since January. Local steelmakers
have struggled to fill their rolling schedules. Buyers envisage small price
reductions next month, citing lower raw material costs.
The outlook for the United Arab Emirates is unchanged. Local service centres
plan to keep stocks low in the near-term and are purchasing cautiously.
Construction demand is not as good as anticipated. Flat product buyers are
reluctant to take positions, amid volatile import quotations.
South African distributors have queried whether the latest domestic price levels
are supported by market and economic fundamentals. Consequently, only small
quantities are being purchased at the new, higher values. Moreover, the ongoing
threat of strike action spreading from the country’s mining sector persists.
Source: MEPS -
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