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EU engineering steel market weak, prices under pressure - 22 March 2012

European engineering steel producers are struggling in a weak market, with offers ranging from €680-700/tonne ($897-923/t) ex-works for grade C45 50-150mm hot rolled bars, Platts Steel Business Briefing hears from industry sources. Last month offer prices for this grade were at €690-755/t delivered.

While some say prices are firm, others note they are feeling increasing pressure on price levels. Across Europe market sources agree that demand is very low. There is no real activity and no new projects have been announced.

“It’s like everyone fell asleep,” says one Benelux trader. Mills are not expected to increase prices for April rollings, he adds.

In southern Germany demand is better than in the country’s industrial core, North Rhine-Westfalia, but prices are the same across Germany at around €680/t. Wind farm projects, which are steel-intensive and a major sector for engineering steel, are suffering in northern Germany due to overall economic uncertainty.

Prices in Germany may go down by €20/t or more depending on the type of engineering steel, according to one German trader. He says C45 material is already available at €660/t. However, other market sources say €660/t is “wishful thinking”.

In the UK, industry sources say they have not seen a slump in demand as in the rest of Europe and the market conditions are similar to the previous month. UK engineering steel grade C45 is available for the equivalent of €700/t ex-works.

 

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