New Inquiries for European Stainless Steel (Flat) Remains Bearish
New Inquiries for European Stainless Steel (Flat) Remains Bearish

New Inquiries for European Stainless Steel (Flat) Remains Bearish

  • 20-Feb-2023 6:30 PM
  • Journalist: Peter Schmidt

Germany: In the European market, the Stainless Steel (Flat) market witnessed dwindling market sentiments in the week ending February 17 owing to sluggish trading activity and buyers' hesitations on higher prices. As per Stainless Steel (Flat) market players, the upstream demand for coil and the downstream demand for tube and sheet are still muted, and sources in northern and southern Europe do not see any significant shift in the near future. European mills have mainly failed in their attempts to raise the price of Stainless Steel (Flat), as most countries are reporting constant values compared to January 2023. Import purchases are becoming less appealing as lead times for items with Asian origins are increasing. European mills are giving March and April lead times.

According to our sources, declining global demand from mills kept raw material stainless scrap prices at lower levels, although other raw materials, nickel, and molybdenum values remain high. Furthermore, European production has only slowly and unevenly recovered this year. However, uncertainty continues to burden the European Stainless Steel (Flat) segment. Although Stainless Steel (Flat) mills claim they must raise their prices because of their high production expenses. Both northern and southern European service centers say that demand for their products is around average. After the post-pandemic surge, some people anticipate a return to regular consumption. Buyers claim that the Stainless Steel (Flat) market is no longer booming but is returning to normal levels as it was in 2018 and 2019. According to other market players, maintaining price stability is a significant accomplishment, and the Stainless Steel (Flat) market can no longer absorb any price increases.

Trade activity remained minimal in the European market as buyers rejected price hikes due to an uncertain outlook for the market amidst mills pushing for higher prices. According to a European distributor, end users are not prepared to accept higher pricing. Although the price increase is justified given the mills' high energy and other costs, end consumers control the market's attitude. It is unlikely that prices will rise if customers refuse to pay larger amounts. Moreover, buyers have expressed worry that the level of end-user demand has not been sufficient to justify price increases. In order to cover gaps in their supplies, purchasers have been making deals solely for smaller tonnages of Stainless Steel (Flat).

As a ripple effect of the ongoing standoff between European Stainless Steel (Flat) buyers and mills, ChemAnalyst anticipates a decline in Stainless Steel (Flat) prices. Some market participants anticipated a drop in Stainless Steel (Flat) prices in the year's second half.

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