According to the September edition of MEPS International Steel Review, steel prices around the world have been on an upward trend since July. The company’s global all products steel price is at its highest level since September 2014.
Steelmakers announced a series of price increases, during the third quarter. Asian and European steel buyers appeared to offer little resistance to the mills’ pricing initiatives, due to a shortage of competitively priced third country imports, notably those from China.
In the absence of low-cost alternatives, Far East and European steel manufacturers took the opportunity to raise prices, in an attempt to recoup their escalating raw material outlay. In contrast, North American producers had limited success, in lifting selling figures, despite the uptrend in international prices. In recent years, a rise in North American selling figures prompted subsequent price increases in other parts of the world.
The MEPS world average steel selling figure is forecast to decrease, marginally, in the final quarter of 2017. An improved pricing environment in Europe is expected to be more than offset by weaker conditions in North America and China.
End-user demand, traditionally, declines during the fourth trimester. Distributors tend to draw down their stock levels for the year-end. These factors are likely to exert negative pressure on transaction values.
Steelmaking raw material costs have declined, in recent weeks. However, mill outlay on consumables, such as electrodes and refractories, has surged recently. This is likely to minimise the downward movement in steel selling figures, in the coming months.