European steel prices for flat and long products continue to plummet due to end-of-year stock considerations and the seasonal slowdown in activity, said MEPS International.
In December’s release of the European Steel Review, MEPS reports that German steel mills have reduced prices in an effort to maintain output. European buyers have secured spot deals at competitive resale values as manufacturers sell excess stock to minimise end-of-year inventories.
UK buyers are forecasting further price falls in the first quarter as European market activity is generally weak.
Conversely, demand in the European automotive sector is growing month-on-month. Furthermore, the depreciation of the euro against the US dollar is making non-EU imports less competitive.
Consequently, Italian and Spanish steelmakers are talking of small price rises in the first quarter. However, buyers are doubtful that any price hike would be accepted by the market.