Uncertainty over EU tariffs, quotas leads to price freeze

Date: Feb 14, 2019

As reported that domestic price assessment for commodity-size, grade-S235 square hollow sections made in Northern Europe was unchanged week on week at €630-640 ($712-723) per tonne delivered on Wednesday.

“I think we have hit the bottom for hollow section prices. It is quiet this week, and prices are the same” one trader said as the market continued to digest the new safeguarding measures, which came into effect on February 2.

The definitive measures, which affect a range of imported steel products, are in the form of tariff rates and a range of quotas that are partly annual and country-specific and partly quarterly and global.

“I don’t understand what the safeguarding measures mean for us,” a distributor said, “I[but] our supplier will explain it to us.”

And an import trader said he had not yet read about the measures and did not know what the impact of them might be.

“There are raw materials price increases but the market is so slow [and] we are waiting for something to happen,” the distributor added. “HRC prices are increasing again, so maybe we will not see lower prices. There is a bigger gap between raw materials and finished products costs,” the distributor said.

ArcelorMittal announced a price rise of €30 ($34) per tonne on flat steel products, including for hot-rolled coil – the feedstock material for hollow sections – at the end of January.

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