Tag Archives: European Steel Review

MEPS EU Average Flat Product Prices Slip But Long Product Values Recover

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.

Source: MEPS – European Steel Review – July 2017 Issue


Overall European strip mill product demand slowed, in July, according to MEPS International Ltd. Many customers had sufficient stock to see them through the summer. With delivery lead times now into the fourth quarter, buyers hesitated to place new business. More attractive third country import offers, especially in southern Europe, plus the likelihood of improved availability from domestic mills in the autumn, led purchasers to anticipate the possibility of some discounts, later in the year. However, prices should be supported by new and existing trade defence measures. For now, some minor downward corrections were noted.

The German economy is performing well. The auto sector remains healthy and construction activity is reasonable. Service centre stocks are now mid-range, following some reductions. MEPS detects no problems regarding availability from distributors. Strip mill product basis figures weakened marginally, in July. Buyers report more interesting offers from Asia.

Activity remained subdued, in France, in early July. Market participants expected a noticeable slowdown in the second half of the month. End-users were loath to build up stocks ahead of the long summer holidays, due to uncertainty over future price trends. Basis values stopped rising, in July, amidst rumours of lower domestic prices in southern Europe and more attractive import offers. Nevertheless, buyers report delivery delays from local mills, with limited availability of material.

Italian basis figures began to erode, in July, partly due to the traditional pre-August slowdown in activity. Cheaper imports, from China, South Korea and India, also contributed to the downward pressure. Real consumption, except by the carmakers, is fragile. Moreover, uncertainty over the future development of prices caused buyers to postpone purchasing decisions.

Short-term fallout from the UK referendum vote created a more healthy environment for exports of both steel and finished goods, as the currency weakened. Moreover, the UK is, presently, less attractive to importers. However, currency movements pushed up raw material costs for the steelmakers. Most flat product prices were unchanged, in July, but continental producers are investigating the possibility of lifting basis values to offset the weaker pound. Shortages of standard sizes were reported by several distributors.

Few price changes were noted in the Belgian market, during the past four weeks. Demand is reasonable. Buyers expect quantities of Chinese and Russian material, ordered earlier in the year, to arrive at the ports in September. This could put domestic mill values under pressure. Customers anticipate small discounts once fourth quarter negotiations get underway. At the moment, service centre stocks are fair, partly because of delayed deliveries.

Import pressure and reducing apparent demand led to downward price corrections in the Spanish market, when discussions for October deliveries were finalised. Service centres, having rebuilt their stocks, do not need to order substantial quantities, immediately. In addition, buyers renewed their interest in third country imports, which, recently, became cheaper than the high domestic values reached in May/June. Low-cost imports are already starting to arrive.

Source: MEPS – European Steel Review – July 2016 Issue


Italian hot rolled coil prices have decreased, in September, according to MEPS. Distributors and end-users are already starting to reduce inventories for the end of year. They will only buy for immediate needs. Domestic suppliers have been forced to align their selling values with import offers.

Hot rolled plate re-rollers are beset with problems as export markets are depressed. Moreover, transport costs prevent them from selling in the higher demand region of northern Europe. Falling slab costs, together with low import offers, will, no doubt, influence future pricing policies.

Cold rolled coil basis figures have declined. Large quantities of third country material have arrived in the country. Service centres report that demand has been reasonable since the return from the summer holidays as auto and white goods activity picked up, albeit from a low level. However, resale customers continue to push for bigger discounts.

Structural sections transaction values have stabilised, after falling in July, despite negative movements in the scrap market. The construction sector is suffering from a lack of investment in major infrastructure projects. Purchasing activity has been slow since the return from the holidays.

Demand for rebar remains light after the holidays. A lack of export opportunities has put further downward pressure on domestic basis values. Meanwhile, merchant bar buyers have secured a marginal price reduction during recent negotiations.

Source: MEPS – European Steel Review – September 2015 Issue


According to MEPS, market activity in Germany was quiet in February. Customers had no urgent need to purchase.

Basis hot rolled coil figures were unchanged in February, compared with the previous month. Steelmakers were unable to implement their announced rise. The weakening euro was beneficial for the pipemakers, who were able to obtain overseas orders. Having conceded discounts in January, plate producers held on to those figures during negotiations in the following month.

Demand for cold rolled coil failed to recover, with the exception of auto sheet. Distributors struggled to make acceptable profits. Meanwhile sales of coated coil to car manufacturers continued to perform very well. However, demand from the construction sector was stagnant.Drawing quality wire rod selling figures were unchanged month-on-month. Recoil values have succumbed to further negative pressure as scrap prices have not firmed.

Beam producers were able to lift effective values in February, despite strong competition for the little business available. The construction outlook is better for later in the year.

Domestic rebar producers tried to boost prices, based on a lack of import availability. However, resistance from customers was high because they were unable to pass on any increases. Negotiations were fierce.

After finally stabilising merchant bar prices in January, mills secured a small increase in February. However, purchasing activity remained cautious as some buyers felt the negative trend may return.

Source: MEPS – European Steel Review – February Issue


According to the latest report by MEPS, there are competitive offers, for hot rolled coil, from Russian suppliers in the Italian market. Domestic basis numbers fell to €400 per tonne in mid-July but have revived since then.

Hot rolled plate rerollers are attempting to lift basis values by €30/50 per tonne as their slab supplies have been curtailed, with a consequent increase in costs. However, freight rates to Germany, their target market, are sufficiently high to make their offers uncompetitive in that country. Domestic demand is stagnant. Nevertheless, we have noted a modest advance during recent negotiations.

Local steelmakers have secured a marginal rise for cold rolled coil during recent transactions, mainly due to a reduction in import competition.

The auto sector shows no real signs of improvement. The purchase of consumer goods is low due to the deflationary nature of the economy. Despite poor demand and fierce internal competition, buyers of coated coil have agreed to a very small advance.

Low carbon wire rod prices are static. A poorly performing construction sector continues to create lacklustre demand for recoil. Steelmakers have kept effective figures steady, after offering a small discount in July to try to stimulate sales.

Effective structural section prices continue to suffer from the state of the ailing building sector. Despite more expensive scrap, suppliers have been unable to persuade customers to pay more for steel products. Recent forecasts for investment in construction are quite pessimistic

Sales of rebar are at a very low level. The recent increase in September is likely to be short-lived. Merchant bar basis figures continue on a downward trajectory. The outlook remains bleak due to a lack of building activity.

Source: MEPS – European Steel Review – September Issue


Over the past thirty years the steel industry has undergone massive changes. The selling price remains a key element inthe buyers’ decision making process. As the market has become more international, local mills are usually required to consider foreign competition when setting offers to domestic customers.

Independent Monthly Steel Pricing in Europe
Independent Monthly Steel Pricing in Europe

Important decisions for the management of manufacturing organisations are often associated with steel procurement. Selling values are also a key element to be considered in the operations of the steelmakers. Independently researched steel price data and market information is useful for both sides.

In 1984, MEPS produced its first carbon steel price and market report – European Steel Review. The main six countries in the EU9 were analysed. The pricing information and market insight proved to be popular. Several manufacturers started to use the published figures to create monthly indices to agree, with their customers, changes in their input costs. Such index pricing continues to this day.

After enlargement of the EU, similar research was conducted in a further six European countries and the results incorporated in a second carbon steel report. This was issued as a supplement to the original version.

In the mid 1990’s it became clear that the global steel industry was in a period of transition. Demand in the west was flatlining. Most of the growth in consumption was coming from Asia. Consequently, in 1995, MEPS started to provide a new report to highlight carbon steel price and market data in non-European markets. International Steel Review was born – with coverage in eight countries located across Asia, North America, and Eastern Europe.

Demand for stainless steel was starting to grow around the middle of the 1990s as new applications were being discovered. MEPS introduced its report, Stainless Steel Review, in 1997 to provide market information on this rapidly growing sector. Monthly data is provided for thirteen countries on three continents.

The world order for steel started to change at the beginning of the new millennium. New demand and capacity was being established in a number of emerging countries around the world, including a number in South America, Eastern Europe, Middle East, Africa and South Asia. MEPS responded to this change by introducing, in 2009, its fourth carbon steel report – Developing Markets Steel Review, adding a further eight countries to the portfolio.

Over the past 30 years China has developed into the largest steel producing and exporting country. As a result, in 2011, MEPS introduced a new monthly report dedicated to showing all the main activities of the steel sector and their influence on other countries.

April 2014 is also the 10th anniversary of the introduction of MEPS unique “on-line” regional carbon and stainless steel price forecasts.

Source: MEPS – European Steel Review