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Europe stainless flat prices down further on continued weakness

The price of stainless steel flat products in the European domestic market decreased further in the week ended July 8 amid continued oversupply and poor demand, sources told Fastmarkets.
Fastmarkets’ weekly assessment for stainless steel cold-rolled sheet 2mm grade 304 base price domestic, delivered Northern Europe was €1,200-1,250 (1,226-1,277) per tonne on Friday July 7, down by €50 per tonne week on week.

Meanwhile, Fastmarkets’ weekly assessment for stainless steel cold-rolled sheet 2mm grade 304 transaction domestic, delivered North Europe was €3,800-3,900 per tonne on Friday, down from €4,000-4,200 per tonne the week before.

“The market is very tired, limping. It’s a disaster. Demand is very poor, it’s minus 70% to distributors. And they tell us to end-users it’s down by 40%. They just postpone and postpone [purchases],” said an Italian producer.

In northern Europe, end-user demand was said to be healthier, but demand from distributors was described as almost non-existent.

Germany was understood to be suffering from a particularly acute oversupply among distributors, with the hope of clearing the excess any time soon diminishing with the onset of the slow summer season.

Distributors panic-bought when prices sky-rocketed in March following the 250% explosion in the nickel market, and are now sitting on stock they cannot clear.

Competitively priced imports from Asia have added further pressure to domestic prices, with the quarterly EU safeguard quota having reset on July 1.

For material not yet dispatched from Asia, prices were heard last week at €3,400-3,500 per tonne ddp for September delivery.

Published by: Ross Yeo