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Steel traders express mixed reactions on demand & pricing scenario in 3 months

Platts reported that the overwhelming majority of traders attending the 60th IREPAS Meeting in Athens expected either a fall or stable steel prices in the next 3 months. Based on a show of hands at the Traders Committee meeting, most expected steel prices to remain the same, with 30% to 40% predicting a decrease. Only one trader thought prices would increase but explained that it would not be a straightforward rise. He said that "We saw the bottom of scrap and billet prices but I do foresee volatility for the rest of the year."

Alpha Egypt's Mr Nader Issa said that steel consumption by the North African country, which he said was in the midst of a consumer boom, would double by 2010-2011 to 10 million tonnes. This compares with 5 million tonnes in 2007, 6.5 million tonnes in 2008 and a forecast of 7 million tonnes in 2009.

At the same time, Mr Mustafa Ozer of Bastug Demir Pazarlama was critical of the situation in Egypt saying that recent price hikes had been artificially created by competing suppliers and that there was no realistic demand behind the rise. Mr Bernd Neuenkirchen of Coutinho & Ferrostaal said that "It's bleak. I don't have any good news."

Mr Iurii Ivanenko of research center Derzhzovnishinform described the domestic market as nearly dead said that there were no good signs for 2009. He said that mill production had fallen to between 40% and 65% but that at least depreciation in the country's currency had made exports more attractive.

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