Offer prices for coil products are rising unbelievably fast, according to northwestern European buyers, Kallanish notes.
“Prices are offered only on a daily basis, and sometimes in an hourly rhythm,” a manager at a German distributor says. He tells of recent offers for stainless strip that changed four times within three hours. “You cannot work like that,” he says. His own company keeps sales offers valid only for one day, and addresses only regular customers.
It is not only distributors who are limiting customers. A Dutch service centre buyer notes that this is also true for most EU mills, which have returned to the “own customer first” principle. “This means that when they return to the market, they will first serve regular customers and put potential new customers on hold,” he says.
Regarding last week’s increase by ArcelorMittal that has lifted hot rolled coil offers to €1,400/tonne ($1,548) in Europe, the German manager says this value may already no longer be valid.
One factor pointed out by the Dutch source is that service centres have relatively high stocks, given that the automotive industry is reserved with placing orders. Hence, “there may be increased competition between mills and service centres,” he says.
Christian Koehl Germany