EU Flat Product Steel
Price Roundup from MEPS
Strip mill product basis prices, for second
quarter 2018 delivery, moved up in many European markets, in
January. Regional producers continue to promote further rises, in
order to achieve their new target values, announced in December
2017. The increases negotiated, this month, are supported by the
absence of attractive third country import offers, good order books
at the domestic steelmakers, an upturn in mill input costs and a
gradual improvement in demand, as distributors restock.
Strong growth in Germany’s manufacturing sector has translated into
buoyant steel demand. Domestic mill delivery lead times are
extending and third country material is difficult to source at
competitive prices, due to trade defence measures and rising
international selling figures. Distributors started to rebuild their
stocks in early 2018. Second quarter business for strip mill
products was negotiated at prices above those reported in December
2017. Domestic steelmakers continue to push for more.
The price trend remains positive in the French market, as producers
continue to propose increases. It was expected that these would be
implemented for strip mill products but acceptance has yet to be
fully confirmed. Delivery lead times from European steelmakers
remain extended, with mills declaring full order books for the first
quarter. Moreover, import offers are more expensive than domestic
values. Even though January order intake began slowly, distributors
are confident that activity will resume on a steady level, following
very brisk sales in the month of December. However, a number of
customers stated that they will restrict purchases, this month, as
stocks are already at an adequate level.
Price rises proved problematic for the Italian mills, in early
December 2017. Basis values finally began to move up later in the
month, as domestic mills lifted their price offers in line with
higher quotations from third country suppliers. Now, the steelmakers
are asking for further hikes, based on the escalating costs of raw
materials and a more robust demand situation.
UK manufacturing output is expanding at its fastest rate since 2008,
after recording a seventh consecutive month of growth, in November
2017. Stocks, at the service centres, however, are still relatively
high, creating negative pressure on resale values. Nevertheless,
distributors’ sales of most strip mill products are reasonably
brisk, following the return from the Christmas/New Year vacation.
Import offers from third country sources continue to be higher than
domestic quotations. Basis values are unchanged, at present.
However, ArcelorMittal recently announced an increase for second
Although the Belgian steel market was slow at the start of January,
sales began to pick up quite quickly. Domestic steelmakers pushed
hard for price rises, citing escalating production costs. Moreover,
competitive offers from third country suppliers are scarce.
Quantities from European mills are also limited, with delivery lead
times extending into the second trimester. Buyers are prepared to
pay more for March deliveries and expect even higher prices when
deals for the second quarter are finalised. Resale values are also
climbing, as most distributors apply the new increase in mill
Spanish service centres report healthy sales volumes. In early
January, buyers settled for their March/April deliveries, conceding
a €10/15 per tonne rise. Resale values continue to be problematic.
Customers are purchasing only small quantities. Import prices, for
April/May arrival, having moved up sharply, are no longer
Source: MEPS -
European Steel Review
- January 2018 Issue
Also See: MEPS
All Products Composite Purchasing Price & Index
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