MEPS GLOBAL COMPOSITE STEEL PRICE SLIPS IN FEBRUARY
A growing number of import offers, plus a weather-related
reduction in general demand, have combined to produce negative price pressure in
the US flat products market. Inventories throughout the supply chain have
increased as less business has been concluded due to climate issues but, in the
future, real consumption is likely to be relatively unchanged.
In Canada, service centres report that business levels were a little better in
January and at the start of February. Domestic mill delivery lead times are
currently at six to eight weeks. The Canadian dollar has weakened against the US
currency, making imports from the US more expensive. Local steel prices have
The Chinese market has been subdued following the long New Year celebrations.
The weather has not been favourable for construction and general sentiment has
been poor. Despite already high inventories, the mills have continued to boost
output in early February. Traders have continued to discount in order to
generate cash flow.
The Japanese economy continues to improve. Steel demand from the manufacturing
sector is robust. Some steelmakers are still pushing for price rises but Tokyo
Steel has left its March list unchanged for the second consecutive month. Sales
revenue from exports continues its upward momentum, despite a strengthening of
the yen in January.
MEPS has noted a degree of price stability in Western Europe during February.
Steelmakers continue to push for higher prices, in order to boost their low
profit margins. However, the announcements and the reality are somewhat
different. Buyers believe the target figures are unrealistic, given the present
state of end-user demand. Consequently, they continue to try to resist the
millsí aspirations. Prices for some quarterly contracts have already been rolled
over from period one to the second trimester.
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