European flat and long product steel selling figures increased, in January. Local mills raised their offer prices in an attempt to recoup recent rises in raw material costs. Further escalation in steel prices is anticipated, in the short term. Consequently, the MEPS EU average all products composite selling figure is expected to rise to its highest level since April 2011.
Domestic flat product steelmakers should be able to secure, at least, a proportion of their proposed price rises, as delivery lead times extend. Import tonnage is expected to remain low, as a result of trade defence measures and uncompetitive quotations from third country suppliers.
European flat product prices are forecast to come under negative pressure as the summer approaches. Reduced raw material costs and declining international steel selling figures are anticipated, during that period.
Transaction values for long products are projected to rise, in February. Producers will continue to promote price increases, buoyed by their good order books. However, MEPS predicts that selling figures are approaching the peak of the current cycle. Cost pressures for the mills are expected to begin to ease, in the second quarter. Furthermore, steel supply is forecast to outstrip market requirements.