Steel Prices: BEAMA Warns of 'Turbulent Times'

Steel Prices: BEAMA Warns of 'Turbulent Times'

BEAMA’s steel electrical products producer members are asking their customers to prepare for turbulent times.

The association’s Steel Products Group forecast of rapid increases in steel producers’ prices during early summer 2008, developed as expected, reaching a high that October. The prices then dramatically trailed-off as the global trade crisis impacted and banking system uncertainties caused reining in of demand.

Post-first quarter 2009, the sizeable fall in steel prices ceased quickly. Demand has since been relatively static - at the 2007 levels before the volatile economic situation took hold.

While the jury is still out concerning the present pattern of supply and demand, BEAMA’s Steel Products Group points out that world steel production has increased for six consecutive months. With more projects proceeding, it says this reflects returning confidence. Particularly as ore and scrap prices are moving ahead in step with this growth. In the steel producing community itself fewer companies are anticipating lower prices.

The Group is concerned that unevenly positioned raw material stocks at steel distributors will be at their lowest for several years with some grades in much shorter supply. With the recession forcing supply-side plant closures and shutdowns, supply routes may now be different from those traditionally encountered.

A Group spokesperson commented: “Finished product stocks in the electrical wholesaler chain will also be low due to the same economic factors. For end customers this means that a particular product specification may not be readily available at short notice, although our members’ intentions are to meet customer requirements.

“Customers can help themselves by buying from reputable wholesalers, anticipating project requirements, advance ordering, confirming actual prices prior to despatch, and by being aware prices may rise.

“Our Group members - manufacturers of steel cable tray, ladder, support systems and trunking - are reassuring customers they are doing everything possible to get supplies through the distribution system on time, and at the most competitive prices.”

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