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Home > MEPS Steel News - 30.01.2013


In the US, flat product transaction values are under negative pressure, despite the flurry of price hike announcements in December and strengthening raw material costs. Foreign offers are scarce as the current low domestic prices are keeping offshore suppliers away. There is reluctance on the part of buyers to commit to forward orders. They choose to live off current stocks if at all possible. Service centres report that, in general, business is steady with enquiries for quotations for projects which may develop later in the first quarter.

In the face of steady but mediocre demand, Canadian transaction values have weakened slightly. Many customers are unwilling to purchase more steel than they need to meet their near-term requirements. Producers are still claiming that prices are inadequate to make normal margins.

In China, low steel market and end-user stocks are likely to boost demand in the spring, when buyers decide to rebuild their inventories. Consumption is expected to pick up mid-February as construction and manufacturing plants restart. The economy is reviving due to recent government measures.

Japanese producers are struggling to implement price rises because of the slowdown in the domestic economy. The steel consuming sectors most badly hit are auto and shipbuilding, together with industrial machinery and equipment. The diplomatic row with China is adding to the steelmakers’ woes.

Taiwanese market sentiment has improved. CSC plans to lift domestic list prices for March shipments by an average of 3 percent compared with the January/February period. The steelmaker cited higher iron ore costs and restocking as the main reasons for the change. The initiative was anticipated by the market.

Polish customers are resisting the mills’ calls for higher transaction values as the economic crisis in Europe hits industrial output. Financial problems, a lack of credit facilities, poor demand and political uncertainty are all undermining steel market sentiment in the Czech Republic and Slovakia. Mills are outwardly trying to improve prices but, at the same time, they desperately need to sell material.

Source: MEPS - International Steel Review
Also See: MEPS - World Steel Price Forecasts

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