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Home > MEPS Steel News - 26.03.2014

SLOW DEMAND LEADS TO SOFTENING STEEL PRICES IN NORTHERN EUROPE MEPS

Steel purchasing activity has declined in northern Europe after a promising start to 2014. Inventory replenishment and speculation contributed to the increased volumes bought in the early part of the year. Now, though, it transpires that underlying demand has not picked up in the manner that had been foreseen. Producers have proposed basis value hikes for some items in recent weeks but market price trends have been flat or negative, dependent on country and product.

There has been no seasonal pickup in demand for strip mill products. Overcapacity persists in steelmaking and distribution. Furthermore, imported material, especially from Asia, is being offered at very competitive figures. As a result, the mills have failed to achieve price advances and, in some countries, small decreases in selling values have been recorded. Stockists, unless they are desperate for cash, are holding onto material, hoping for higher prices in the second quarter.

Distributors report substantial tonnages of hot rolled plate of Asian origin arriving in Europe. In the Nordic region, transaction values have also come under pressure from lower-priced imports from Russia and Eastern Europe. Although demand has been reasonable from some sectors and some locations, the trend in selling values across northern Europe has been downward, during the past month.

The tendency for long products prices has been distinctly negative in recent weeks. The market for drawing quality wire rod remains subdued and selling figures have slipped, a little. Demand for structural sections is expected to increase this year but, for now, mills are reducing their offer prices, influenced by lower scrap costs and the need to fill their rolling schedules. Despite mild weather and demand from some large infrastructure projects, consumption of reinforcing bars is disappointing and transaction values have decreased for the second month, in most countries. The reported growth in manufacturing activity in much of Europe has had little noticeable effect on consumption of merchant bar and prices fell, all over the north of the continent, in March.


Source: European Steel Review Supplement  

Also See: MEPS Nordic Index and MEPS Nordic Steel Prices

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