SUBDUED STEEL MARKET SENTIMENT AS SUMMER LULL SETS IN
There is downward price pressure in most
countries researched, in July. Fierce competition, between both domestic and
third country suppliers, is intensifying. The upcoming summer holiday period in
some nations is adding to the negative trading environment.
In the US, steelmakers appear to be bucking the trend witnessed in the global
scene. Recently announced price rises are starting to filter through to the
market, with increases recorded in local values for some strip mill products,
this month. However, stock levels are elevated and domestic sales volumes are
softening. The potential for further advances in transaction figures, in the
near term, appears limited. There remains a heightened threat from imports,
despite antidumping investigations now under way.
In Canada, the large inventory overhang is taking time to reduce. The domestic
market is weak but the number of enquiries is growing. Customers are cautiously
optimistic for the future.
In Japan, sales have slowed and inventory adjustment is yet to be completed.
Local steelmakers are planning on cutting production, in the July/September
period, in a bid to re-balance supply and demand. Import volumes were down and
export sales were up, in May, year-on-year.
South Korean producers are supplementing poor domestic sales with increased
shipments to overseas customers. However, this is upsetting suppliers in the
importing countries and is attracting antidumping filings against them from some
nations. Deliveries of third country material into the local market are slowing.
In Taiwan, major integrated producer, CSC, announced reduced list prices for
September deliveries. As a result, market values have deteriorated, in July.
Demand from foreign and domestic customers is weak.
There is negative pressure from CIS-origin material, in Poland. Nevertheless,
prices have remained stable, this month, as domestic demand is reasonable for
this time of year. Selling values have reduced in the Czech and Slovak markets.
Sales activity is sluggish to many steel consuming sectors, with the exception
of the automotive industry.
Prices in western Europe have deteriorated, in general, in July. Fierce
competition from overseas suppliers is forcing domestic mills to lower their
offers. Southern Europe is taking the brunt of the imports. However, material
has been penetrating the northern markets, of late. Transaction figures could
decrease further during the summer.
Steel Review - July Issue
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