Tag Archives: strip mill

NORTH AMERICAN STRIP MILL PRODUCT STEEL PRICES POISED TO RISE – MEPS

The downward trajectory of US strip mill product steel prices came to an end, in November. MEPS’ research shows that local steelmakers achieved at least part of their proposed increases or, at worst, prevented domestic values slipping further.

Amid a weak trading environment, a number of US steel buyers initially labelled the mills’ proposed price hikes as a ‘defensive move’ to halt the downward pressure on steel transaction values. Surging raw material expenditure supported mill efforts. Supply from offshore sources is extremely limited, largely due to ongoing trade defence measures.

Many buyers remarked, previously, that uncertainty surrounding the US presidential election had created a negative impact on domestic steel demand. A number of significant public construction projects were put on hold.

From MEPS research, in November, the general consensus view from steel market participants is that Donald Trump’s Republican election victory will have positive implications for the US steel industry. The new president’s ‘America First’ policy will likely feature increased infrastructure spending, which will boost steel demand from the construction sector, in particular. The expected greater use of import protection measures will also safeguard the interests of US steelmakers against the dumping of cheap imports.

However, further trade barriers will restrict choice for the US consumer. By limiting offshore supply options, steel buyers are likely to struggle to purchase their material at competitive prices. Furthermore, a major aspect of the electoral campaign was a promise to renegotiate several trade deals. If the US goes against the ethos of free trade, both regionally and globally, then steel exporters, who focus heavily on the world market, will be particularly affected.

MEPS believes that US transaction values are likely to strengthen, in the near term. Supply-side cuts and a slight demand pickup could prompt price increases at the beginning of 2017.

Source: MEPS International Steel Review – November 2016 Issue

NO PICKUP IN NORTH EUROPEAN STEEL DEMAND – PRICES SLIP AGAIN – MEPS

Steel sales volumes failed to increase in March and April, in northern Europe. Consequently, transaction values slipEuropean Steel Supplementped once again, in many countries, leaving profit margins for producers and distributors at a bare minimum. Although there have been some strong economic indicators in recent months, leading to optimistic forecasts, actual demand for steel has yet to pick up.

While demand for strip mill products is perceived to be improving in some countries, the market across Europe is subdued. Producers achieved some short term price advances in recent weeks but these were short lived. Mill input costs decreased during February and March and local prices were placed under further pressure by cheap import offers from Asia. MEPS Nordic Average transaction prices for hot rolled and cold rolled coil edged downwards in April.

Hot rolled plate values slipped again, this month, and remain under negative pressure. Prices continue to be affected by competition from Russia and Eastern Europe. Steel market participants perceive no sign of the economic growth suggested by government statistics. Buyers and sellers do not foresee a substantial pickup in demand or transaction values in the next six months.

The mild winter in northern Europe kept demand from the construction sector relatively steady, the seasonal pickup in spring is, consequently, less pronounced. In fact, purchase volumes for long products have been disappointing and selling values have dropped. Distributors are buying beams imported from South Korea in order to reduce their costs. This is having a negative effect on local market prices. Selling figures for rebar, agreed this month, have been lower than during March, due to earlier decreases in scrap costs. However, values for the raw material have increased in recent weeks. If this trend is maintained, prices could rise, in due course. Economic activity in Scandinavia is better than in much of Europe. Even so, merchant bar prices have been dragged down by the market in the rest of the continent.

Source: European Steel Review – Supplement, Nordic Steel Prices

NEW YEAR BRINGS GENTLE UPTURN IN NORTH EUROPEAN STEEL PRICES – MEPS

Steel market participants have, for some time, been predicting a moderate pickup in steel sales volumes and prices, in northern Europe, during the first half of 2014. Although there has been no spectacular increase in tonnages, the mills schedules are filling and delivery lead times are lengthening. Selling values for most products have recorded small advances, in January, in the majority of countries reviewed. In all other cases, gains are anticipated in the near future.

Coil producers need increased prices in order to be profitable. Accordingly, they have proposed higher numbers for January or first quarter contracts. While the new figures were not immediately accepted in all instances, buyers concede that values will rise in the near term. Offers from third country suppliers are only marginally cheaper than from European mills and are, therefore not attractive.

The market for reversing mill plate remains weak compared to that for strip mill products. Transaction values have risen slightly in Sweden. Market participants in other countries foresee possible small increases during the first half of this year, although some sellers believe they may have to wait until the second quarter to achieve higher volumes and prices.

There has been no severe winter weather, so far, in northern Europe. Consequently, demand for long products, from the construction sector, has held up at a higher level than is normal for this time of year. Furthermore, scrap prices increased in December. As result, transaction values for structural sections rose, in most countries, in January. On the other hand, rebar prices, in most instances remained stable. Merchant bar values have recorded moderate advances, supported by improving demand from the manufacturing sector.

 Source: European Steel Review Supplement