EU STAINLESS STEEL
MARKET ROUNDUP FROM MEPS
The depressed oil price has resulted in lower
plate demand from the offshore sector, in Western Europe. However,
the weak euro has helped mills in the region to increase sales in
export markets. Scarce stainless steel scrap is pushing up input
costs and squeezing the producers’ profit margins. Demand is showing
signs of improving and rolling capacity is being booked further in
advance. Basis prices are steady in Germany and France. Demand has
been subdued, in the latter country, in May and June. End-user
activity is described as “quite reasonable”, in Italy. There is
little imported material being offered.
Demand is patchy, in the United Kingdom, but overall sales volumes
are stable. There is no sign of an upturn in consumption, as the
summer holiday period approaches. Selling values are low and profit
margins are narrow. There is fierce competition between suppliers.
Sales activity has slowed, in Spain, during the last three months.
Stockholders and service centres are purchasing only small amounts
Stainless cold roil coil buyers in Germany and France have resisted
basis hikes but the mills are seeking higher figures for September
deliveries. With alloy surcharges set to decrease further, sellers
are keen to offset some of this loss, at least. The EU antidumping
action has reduced the volume of imported material, in Italy, but it
has not boosted prices. The mills’ service centres are offering very
competitively. As a result, distributors’ selling values are very
low and their profit margins are small.
Demand is very weak, in the United Kingdom. Consequently, stainless
cold rolled coil basis prices are unlikely to rise, in the near
term. Producers are claiming a healthy order load but buyers report
plenty of material available. Ex-mill basis figures are stable, in
Spain. However, ex-stock prices are said to have slipped as sales
volumes have decreased.
End-user demand for stainless steel bars is stronger in Spain than
in most other Western European countries, although it varies between
different products. Nevertheless, sellers’ profit margins are
tight and transaction values continue to slide, driven by the
downward trend in alloy surcharges. Demand for stainless bar
products is very poor, in the United Kingdom. Order intake from the
oil sector and machinery manufacturers has slowed.
Source: MEPS -
Review - June Issue
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