A serious shortage of raw materials that leaves shears and shredders lying idle for a large part of the week is the main problem facing all sections of the trade. Half empty yards and a scrabble to increase, or at least maintain market share, is now the norm and margins are at the minimum.
Despite this, and because currency exchange rates favour sterling, no one is expecting any price increase from exporters or local steelworks.
With all grades in short supply, dockside prices are holding steady as exporters compete fiercely for the very limited tonnage available. Despite this, some traders warn of a possible downturn if export demand continues to ease.
One trader commented: “We have to be very careful about quality and we don’t have many options. Turkey will definitely buy a reasonable tonnage and China and/or India may come up with acceptable offers; but that’s about it. The EU zone is dead in the water. Dockside prices could ease by between £5 and £10 per tonne”.