The shortage of coil products in northwestern Europe will not be overcome soon, observers tell Kallanish. In fact, many fear that relief will not be seen until rather late this year.
Delivery times of integrated mills, in normal times between six and 12 weeks, have now stretched to easily five months, and quite a few mills have stopped taking orders for the third quarter already.
“The next four months or so will be really rough for all steel buyers,” says a source at a company which itself has filed for insolvency, pulled along by big customers that went bankrupt earlier. “I did not foresee such a scarcity, and I think it has partly to do with the recent export of European slabs to Southeast Asia,” he explains.
“Some German mills have limited capacity available for the third quarter, they only want to book contract quantities at the moment, and even then with fewer quantities than usual,” a Benelux manager tells Kallanish. The available stocks at the distributors, as dealers and service centres, are decreasing more than they are increasing due to new incoming material., he observes. As a result, scarcity has become so extreme that no availability options are given in offers. If the customer waits too long to order, he runs the risk of the material no longer being available.
One Austrian source sees a wide range of lead times, stretching from May until after August, depending on the conditions of the deal. And, in line with the Benelux manager, he sees no relief of availability until the fourth quarter.
Christian Koehl Germany