EU Steel Market Prices and Demand
Stabilise as Year-end Approaches
Strip mill product basis prices were relatively
stable, in most European markets, according to the November edition
of MEPS European Steel Review. Major mills continue to promote
further increases, with little response from buyers. However,
steelmakers remain confident that modest rises can be implemented
early in 2018. Distributors, although working through their
overblown inventories quite successfully, are under no pressure to
purchase immediately. Nevertheless, availability has tightened as a
result of trade measures. This, together with firm underlying
consumption, continues to support the producers’ proposals.
The manufacturing sector, in Germany, continued to grow strongly at
the start of the fourth quarter. Steel consumption remains robust,
with both auto and construction companies requiring considerable
quantities. Import volumes are restricted to, mainly, small
tonnages. Despite this lack of competitive overseas opportunities,
buyers relate that availability from domestic sources is adequate
for their needs. Basis values were largely unchanged, in November,
still failing to reach the targets set by local mills.
French prices remain relatively stable. Demand is quite good,
although few orders were booked, in October. Buyers were expecting
prices to decline but, as this was not the case, they have now
resumed purchasing. Although the mills continue to propose
increases, customers anticipate no changes up to the year-end.
Most fourth quarter deals are now finalised, in Italy, at similar
values to those recorded last month. A degree of uncertainty
surrounds the forward pricing scene. Buyers are waiting before
committing to large volume orders. In fact, several major service
centres are still destocking for the year-end. New import deals are
virtually at zero. Quotations from Turkey, India and Vietnam are
close to European levels.
Although the UK market is quiet, some service centres report
increased activity levels, in early November. The outlook for the
manufacturing sector remains positive but auto output is slowing and
construction activity has fallen sharply. Resale margins, at the
distributors, continue to be problematic as old, cheaper priced
stock is still working though the supply chain. Producers, noting a
decline in recent transaction volumes, are slow to issue target
prices for the first trimester 2018.
Belgian demand is robust, although sales tonnages are shrinking, in
view of the need to cut inventory levels before the end of the year.
Strip mill product basis values are stable, for the moment.
Suppliers are proposing small increases for January 2018 production.
However, distributors do not believe that present demand can justify
the imposition of further hikes. They are already struggling with
their resale margins. Third country imports are no longer
The Spanish manufacturing sector gained further growth momentum, in
October. Demand for strip mill products is stable. Basis values
remained steady, in November. Orders, for the local mills, are
unlikely to improve, to any great extent, in the near term. Large
quantities of imported material, especially cold rolled and
galvanised coil, ordered when overseas prices were very competitive,
are still arriving. New import quotations recovered, this month.
Service centre activity is fairly slow.
Source: MEPS -
European Steel Review
- November 2017 Issue
All Products Composite Purchasing Price & Index
Sign up for free
MEPS steel news alerts