According to today's MEPS steel news report, prices in Europe appear to be showing signs of weakening. Certainly in the UK the prices for hot rolled and cold reduced coil are down in December by as much as £30 a tonne, and even Galvanised coil prices are beginning to weaken.
In contrast the German producers are talking of increases in January, and whilst this may be possible on their domestic market, they will meet strong resistance in the UK and Southern Europe.
Anyway the follwing extract is from todays report, with a link to the full story underneath.
Steel prices in the main West European markets have started to look a little weaker. But these declines are reversing only to a minor extent what has been a generally strong upward move over the course of 2006. After the reductions seen in 2005, all steel prices have showed a recovery this year. In many cases close to, or above, the peaks reached in the latter part of 2004.
Looking at the EU’s largest steel market, Germany, since January transaction prices for hot rolled coil have increased by €80 per tonne or almost 20 percent. Cold rolled coil has taken a similar development. Most of the recent slackening in prices has been seen in southern Europe – especially Italy. Here, December transaction values for hot rolled coil have retreated by about €60 per tonne from their third quarter peak, but still remain some €85 per tonne higher than they were at the start of the year. France, the UK and Belgium have exhibited smaller declines. In all these countries hot and cold rolled coil prices are substantially higher than they were a year ago.