The MEPS - Global Price (embracing flat and long carbon steel average values for the three main regions) fell by approximately one percent in January compared to the previous month. This was broadly in line with our December prediction. The US dollar in January, recovered some of December's lost value to most other major currencies.
In the short term, we still believe that the global composite price will steadily decline to mid year. We expect flat product average values to fall in the EU and Asia. US selling figures are likely to bottom out over the period. In the longer term, price gains are anticipated in all regions through the second half of the year. Long products figures are forecast to rise in Asia but fall in the US and EU over the next few months. A revival is predicted in the third quarter in all regions.
Whilst we are unlikely to see the wild fluctuations of steel prices that have been evident in the past, due mainly to mills using a planned approach to demand, there will invariably be more modest price movement. Last year price rises were followed by stability in the second half, although there was evidence of some weakening toward the end of the year. This would seem to be borne out by an early weakening of prices in 2007.
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