S&P Global Platts: Standoff continues in European coil market



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Coil prices in Western Europe remained flat last week, with sources suggesting there will be limited buying activity for the next couple of weeks as uncertainty over price direction continues.

Stockholders and service centers are increasingly ready to sit on the sidelines having replenished their inventories at the beginning of the year. German flat steel stock levels jumped in January by almost 300,000 mt month-on-month to 1.46 million mt, the highest level since July 2017.

Inventories were boosted by a dramatic jump in imports that arrived in the European Union in January, with almost 2.1 million mt of flat steel products representing an increase of 400,000 mt on January 2017, and 60% more than in December.

However, end user demand remains strong, and sources suggest import volumes tapered off in February and March. Hot rolled coil import offers were widely reported at Eur560-570/mt CIF Antwerp, but a stockholder in Germany said he would not want to pay anywhere near that if arrivals are in the summer slowdown period.

“It would have to be far below €570/mt to buy, for me it has to be slightly above €500/mt CIF so I wouldn't think of it at the moment. Maybe €510/mt I'd think about it but it's too dangerous and there's no need,” he said.

Mills are equally happy to sit on their hands with many claiming to be booked out until July/August for certain products. End user demand was widely described as excellent meaning mills reliant on contract business in particular have done well. However one mill source was unconvinced that bookings have really been that strong.

“I'm not sure on lead times, if we have impact from elsewhere - tariffs or Asian prices - and the market collapses, I'm sure for June you can have everything,” he said.

The difficulty is for mills that are more reliant on the spot market who may not have as long an order book as the bigger tier-1 mills, and may have to cut offer prices to force sales.

The above and much more will be discussed at length at Platts 14th Steel Markets Europe conference – Europe’s long standing event for today’s leading producers, traders, service centers, raw material providers and end users – in Barcelona this June.

The event will gather over 30 expert speakers to debate the key issues facing the European steel industry today, including how trade flows, pricing and M&As are disrupting the global steel markets.

To see the latest full speaker line up and agenda Click here for Agenda and Speakers 

For more information including special discounted pricing - including our group offer of 'pay for 2 places and get a 3rd place for free', and our Early Bird expiring on April 27 
Call: +44 (0)20 7176 6300
Email: conf_registrations@spglobal.com
Or click here to register online 

Thank you for reading this email and I look forward to hopefully meeting you at the conference. 



Mark June 11-12 in your calendar

S&P Global Platts: Standoff continues in European coil market

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