Vanilla Steel moves into prime steel, volumes growing

  • Market: Metals
  • 04/02/22

Digital steel marketplace Vanilla Steel has seen its volumes strengthen considerably and has started to list prime material as well as secondary and excess, co-founder and managing director Alexis Ducros told Argus.

Large German service centre Stahlo recently listed "green steel" for sale on the platform, which started to list prime steel in the fourth quarter of 2021 — as demand for prime flat steels ebbed amid high stocks and low automotive offtake.

The platform now has more than 150 suppliers registered and is currently listing about 10,000 t/week, after listing 250,000t over the whole of 2021. The volume is split fairly evenly between flats and longs, Ducros said.

Vanilla Steel's auctions typically start on Mondays at 11:00 local time (10:00 GMT) and run until Thursdays at 16:00 local time (15:00 GMT). As well as bidding on material, there is a 'buy now' option that allows buyers to ensure they secure the material.

Vanilla Steel aims to match buyers and sellers, so the transactions usually happen between buyer and supplier, and the platform does not offer insurance or counterparty risk mechanisms for the deals. The majority of suppliers are steelmakers and service centres. The material listed on Vanilla Steel must be exclusive, owned by the seller and cannot be offered elsewhere.

In response to customer demand, the company is looking to build in a request for quotation process, which is how most companies receive offers from producers. It is also looking to strengthen its offering for logistics services and payments.

Listings and transactions currently taking place on the platform indicate a lack of market direction, as was the case in the fourth quarter of last year. "You can tell there is a strong view on price increases in the coming months and uncertainty related to automotive," Ducros said.


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