As per last week’s news EMR are maintaining their £15-£20 per tonne dockside price increase for plate and girder and as China almost always come onto the market for this grade at this time of the year, some merchants think this may be behind EMR’s actions. Negotiations with UK mills were still ongoing at the time of going to press but in an attempt to overcome a serious shortage of all grades, they are also putting prices up. So far, there is only £5 per tonne on the table but suppliers are hoping to achieve up to £15 per tonne before settling. Turkey and the rest of Europe remain subdued but Indian mills are believed to be offering around £230 per tonne for HMS 1 & 2 in boxes. Realization of these prices will put home and export markets on a competitive basis with the balance slightly in favour of UK buyers.
Apart from a few cargoes awaiting shipment stocks and yard intakes are still perilously low and there are no signs of improvement. As a result, most yards are quiet, but with dockside prices edging upward some firms may now decide to temporarily hold onto the meager amounts of stock coming to hand. With processing machinery lying idle and fierce competition for all types of feedstock, margins are minimal. The MD of one medium sized non exporting firm commented, ‘I’m not getting enough to cover costs, so we may have to hold on to what we get and hope for a profit if it goes up.’