The latest edition of Fastmarkets’ Galvanized Steel and Tinplate Market Tracker, for April 2020, is now available to view.
Further price falls are almost certain, with most discussion centering on the magnitude of the falls to come.
It has become increasingly clear that the greatest damage being wrought by the outbreak is now being seen in Europe and the United States.
Across much of Asia, activity has picked up following widespread shutdowns in February and March. There were hopes that the Western markets were merely running a month or so behind China, and would in turn rebound strongly in mid-to-late April or early May.
But that view appears increasingly optimistic, given that the numbers of new cases of the disease remain at high levels daily. Many factories and industries remain shuttered across Europe and the US, with only tentative restarts being seen in some areas.
And even with the clear pickup in activity in China over recent weeks, steel prices there have continued to fall.
There have been more statements of intent from steelmakers with regard to production discipline in Europe and the US than in China, so perhaps oversupplies will not weigh quite as heavily on these markets once the economy picks up.
For now, however, demand destruction is the overriding market force. Lead times have contracted notably where there are buyers, and further price erosion is expected.
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Global markets are contracting in the face of the Covid-19 pandemic, and the prices for flat steel products continue to retreat, with prices for coated steels down by a further 5% since late March in most of the markets that Fastmarkets tracks.