US steel market participants reported expectations of stronger finished steel prices in July, according to the monthly survey of the market by S&P Global Platts.
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In the survey of US producers, distributors, traders and end-customers conducted ahead of July, the index for finished steel price development dipped slightly from June's 75, but remained strongly positive at 72.1, indicating continued expectations for increases in the near term.
Mills and distributor respondents were bullish about July finished steel prices, posting 81.25 and 80, respectively. Traders and end users' responses were more muted, but still expected increases with a finished steel price development index of 60 and 64.3, respectively.
"No price collapse on the horizon," said one end user as an eventual "controlled pull back" was seen as more likely.
"Overall we believe prices will continue to rise over the next two months, simply due to a larger supply shortage. The supply and demand curve continues to be out of balance," said one distributor.
Raw material price sentiment expectations were mixed, but with an index of 70.2 responses were nearly as strong as those for finished steel prices. Distributors had the firmest expectations for July steelmaking raw materials, with an index of 77.5. That was followed by traders (70), mills (68.75), and end users (60.7).
Finished steel inventory and finished steel production levels were broadly expected to be unchanged, with index levels of 50 and 54.8, respectively. Notable responses to those two queries were decreases seen in expected inventory by mill respondents (37.5) and traders (45), and a relatively strong expectation of mill output increases, with an average index response of 65 received from trader respondents.