MODERATE STEEL PRICE
INCREASES DESPITE WEAK DEMAND IN NORTHERN EUROPE - MEPS
Steel purchasing activity
in northern Europe has not picked up in the usual seasonal fashion
this January. Despite lean inventories, end-users and stockists have
been reluctant to buy more material than they absolutely need. They
see no prospect of a significant upturn in underlying demand and
fear that any escalation in prices, during the first half of 2013,
will be short-lived.
Nevertheless, most steel producers have secured further small
advances in spot basis values, this month. The MEPS Nordic Average
transaction figures for both hot rolled and cold rolled coils rose
by around 1.2 percent. Many quarterly contracts, though, have been
settled at prices slightly below those agreed in the final period of
The market for quarto plate has been a little stronger. The energy
sector remains more buoyant than most other steel consuming
industries in the region. Stock building in China has boosted
international raw material costs and put upward pressure on domestic
steel prices in Europe. The MEPS Nordic Average transaction value
for hot rolled plate increased by 1.8 percent in January.
Producers of long products have achieved mixed results, with larger
increases for some categories and little or no change for others.
Construction activity is weak. Consequently, most makers of
reinforcing bars made no attempt to raise selling values, this
month, despite higher scrap costs. Suppliers of structural sections,
on the other hand, pushed through the biggest hikes of any product.
The MEPS Nordic Average transaction price for Medium Sections and
Beams was up by nearly 3 percent, in January. Rising raw material
costs helped to secure moderate price advances, compared with last
month, for merchant bars.
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