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European seamless tube market stabilising

Thursday, 19 May 2011

European seamless carbon tube prices
S355 (60-160mm dia) delivered
©SBB 2011
 Feb 11 Mar 11 Apr 11 May 11 Jun 11*
€/tonne 980 - 1070   1000 - 1080   1060 - 1100   1080 - 1100   1090 - 1110 
* SBB forecast, except announced surcharges

The European seamless tube market is expected to be stable at its current level throughout May, with slightly more activity than in what was a quiet April, Steel Business Briefing hears from market sources.

"Tube prices are stagnant at the moment because of rumours of a decline in steel prices, putting some pressure on seamless tube sales volumes as customers are placing smaller orders, expecting a potential reduction in prices from the mills," says a German stockist.

The machine building sector, fronted by Germany's strong economy, is driving demand for seamless tube, several north European distributors agree. Imports are not noticeably impacting the market, they add.

Prices are expected to remain stable until the end of July, with potentially some small increases. Although scrap prices have been volatile, these affect only 30% of seamless tube production costs and the average price remains higher than last year, southern European producers say.

From January prices have increased by almost €100/tonne but customers accepted the increase, and demand is fairly good with orders for the next three months, they add.

There has been an increase in demand for seamless tubes from energy related projects in the past six months, both in northern and southern European market sources note.

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