Flat product prices continued to fall in the latter part of June, in both the north and south of Europe. Basis numbers were driven down by the impact of inventory build-up and price pressure from third country imports. Market sentiment began to change in early July, as competition from overseas material reduced. Foreign offer prices increased and the expectation of the introduction of antidumping duties, on hot rolled and hot dipped galvanised coil, during the summer, also led to fewer import transactions. An extended period of destocking is coming to an end. End-user consumption is at a high level and service centres are beginning to re-order for the autumn.
Reacting to this change in market direction, a number of Western European steelmakers are now pushing for price increases of around €20/30 per tonne on all strip mill products, for September deliveries.
European long product producers began to target price hikes of €15/30 per tonne, at the start of July, citing higher input costs. So far, the response from buyers is fair. At least a part of the increase is likely to be achieved. The mills are bullish and, in some instances, they are already pushing for further increases.