Steel billet prices tumbled heavily in the third quarter, according to Barclays Capital Research. Mediterranean and Far East contracts both plunged by more than 70% from June to mid-October. November has brought some stability to prices, with both contracts rising firmly back above $300 per tonne, although "this pales compared to the $1,200 per tonne level reached in June this year." "Demand dynamics in the steel market weakened considerably in the thrid quarter, associated primarily with a seasonal slowdown in activity in the demand centres of the Middle East and China, and then compounded by the broad financial market dislocations seen in September and October. The announcement of China's vast fiscal package may offer some hope though moving into the second half of 2009," say analysts Amrita Sen and Nicholas Snowdon. Easing supply-side constraints have taken away the floor from prices, with iron ore, coal, freight and scrap prices falling to multi-year lows. However, the speed of price declines has inspired a plethora of production cuts, which, following a period of destocking, should help stem further price depreciations and indeed support price rises once demand growth returns.