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Home > MEPS Steel News - 30.01.2014


Service centres in the US flat products market report a slower than anticipated start to 2014. Although ex-mill transaction values have increased, there does not appear to be much upward demand pressure at present. Steelmakers continue to announce cost-driven price hikes as scrap escalates. Inventories throughout the supply chain are light. As prices rise, producers are closely watching the import situation. For now, buyers are showing little interest in offshore material.

The Chinese market is quiet ahead of the week-long New Year celebrations at the end of this month. Traders are keen to offload their stock and prices have fallen accordingly. Softening raw material costs are hindering the situation.

Economic conditions are improving rapidly in Japan, creating a perfect climate for the steelmakers’, much needed, price rises. The weak currency continues to deter overseas suppliers. However, it is also making imported raw materials more expensive. A number of producers are also concerned about escalating electricity charges. Export business is weaker as demand in the key Asian markets is dull and supply remains in surplus.

The South Korean domestic steel market is slow to recover and overseas sales are also lacklustre. Local mills have a multitude of trade cases outstanding against them at present. Despite high input costs, steelmakers are unable to lift their prices.

The Polish economy is on the mend, with new investments from the European Commission helping to boost activity. Proposed mill price rises of €40 per tonne have not yet been implemented.

It is difficult to assess the future direction of the Czech/Slovak steel market at present. However, there does appear to be some underlying optimism. Transaction numbers have moved up this month and buyers are expecting stability from now on.

Source: MEPS International Steel Review

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