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Home > MEPS Steel News - 04.08.2016

EU STAINLESS STEEL MARKET ROUNDUP FROM MEPS

According to MEPS, purchasing activity for hot rolled stainless steel slowed, in Germany, as the summer holiday period approached. Sellers predict that, if nickel prices remain strong, customers will start to buy more substantial tonnages, in mid-August. European mills are divided over whether to seek basis price increases for September deliveries. Demand is reasonable, in Italy, but imports from Asia have swelled the volume of cheap material in service centres’ inventories

The plate market is subdued, in the United Kingdom. This has been amplified by the onset of the summer holidays. Enquires are plentiful but these are slow to turn into orders. Basis prices edged upward, largely due to the weakening of the pound sterling against the euro.

Alloy surcharges are on an upward trend, in Europe. Local mills are trying to lift cold rolled basis figures in small steps, each month. No such advance was agreed in Germany, for July. European mills’ order books are filling, slowly. Stockists in France are currently relying on service centres for most of their purchases, due to the local producers’ annual closures. Italian distributors are eager to lift basis prices but they face competition from the mills’ own service centres. Imports from the Far East are available for around €100 per tonne less than locally produced material.

Signs of an increase in commercial activity are detected, in the United Kingdom, after a very quiet period. Uncertainty persists, though, following the Brexit vote. Cold rolled basis values increased a little, in July – at least enough to offset the weakening of the pound sterling against the euro. In Spain, end-user purchases are at a slightly lower level than in June but, still, satisfactory.

Stainless bar prices are stable, in France, but advances are forecast, for September deliveries. Demand from some sectors has improved, in the United Kingdom. EU producers are looking to lift basis prices, in the coming months. Delivery lead times are extended but the mills are not yet operating at full capacity. End-users require immediate deliveries, so they rely on stockists. In Spain, effective prices for grade 304 bars are stable but will be pushed up by higher raw material costs in the near future.


Source: MEPS - Stainless Steel Review - July Issue

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