EU FLAT PRODUCT STEEL PRICES EXPECTED TO PEAK IN MID YEAR
According to MEPS, Restricted availability continued to boost strip mill product prices in most European countries, in February. Supply remained extremely tight and domestic mill delivery lead times stretched well into the second quarter. However, third country imports, from sources not affected by antidumping measures, are becoming more interesting to steel buyers. In many instances, prices are lower than those being sought by domestic steelmakers. Moreover, delivery lead times from outside the EU compare quite favourably with domestic ones, at present.
Local producers want to implement further advances as soon as possible, despite fairly stable input costs. Inventories at service centres and consumers are sufficient, currently, due to heavy purchasing at the start of the year. Buying activity was quiet, in February. Consequently, it is too early to judge whether the new target values can be secured for all strip mill products. The extremely restricted supply situation, in the hot dipped galvanised coil market, makes this the most likely product for successful implementation of the increases.