Polish rebar, wire rod prices hold steady in quiet conditions

Polish domestic steel rebar and wire rod prices remained largely unchanged in the week to Friday November 17 in slowing trading conditions, sources told Fastmarkets.

Polish mills kept their offers stable for both products during the assessment period.

Local producers have been trying to achieve higher prices for weeks because their production costs have risen, sources said. But most market participants estimated current levels to be too high.

Thus, no major deals were heard in either the rebar or wire rod market this past week.

Polish mills continued offering rebar at 2,800 Polish zloty ($693) per tonne CPT in the week to Friday, which nets back to 2,780 zloty per tonne ex-works, sources told Fastmarkets.

But higher offers nearer to 2,850 zloty per tonne CPT were also heard in the market, which nets back to around 2,820 zloty per tonne ex-works. Fastmarkets did not include this level in its weekly assessment, because most participants did not consider it to be representative of the wider market.

The workable level for Polish domestic rebar varied between 2,730 and 2,750 zloty per tonne CPT, which nets back to 2,710 and 2,730 zloty per tonne ex-works respectively, according to buyer and distributor sources.

Fastmarkets’ weekly price assessment for steel reinforcing bar (rebar), domestic, exw Poland was 2,710-2,780 zloty per tonne on Friday, narrowing upward by 10 zloty per tonne from 2,700-2,780 zloty per tonne on November 10.

“Demand for domestic rebar is quite stable now. It is a bit better than last week,” a distributor source told Fastmarkets.

A second source also confirmed that demand had improved slightly, but not as much they had expected.

Demand in Poland remained moderate this week, without significant fresh deals, according to a third market source. The third source added that most market participants were waiting for a large local producer to update their prices next week.

Prices for domestic rebar in the secondary market were heard at 2,760-2,780 zloty per tonne CPT, which was close to the levels from the previous week.

Prices for Polish rebar will remain steady until the end of the year, according to a distributor source, who added that they did not expect any significant price increases or decreases.

Offers of imported material from Germany were heard at around €610 ($662) per tonne CPT.

Offers of imported material from Ukraine were heard at €560 per tonne DAP border.

A strengthening zloty versus the euro also incentivized import business this week, a producer source told Fastmarkets.

For instance, €1 was worth 4.38 zloty on Friday, according to currency exchange website Oanda.com. This compares with €1 to 4.45 zloty on November 1 and €1 to 4.62 zloty on October 1.

Wire rod
Polish mills continued offering wire rod in the range of 2,900-3,100 Polish zloty per tonne CPT this week, sources told Fastmarkets.

But the market remained largely flat, and no major deals were heard.

Workable levels were estimated to be in a range of 2,850-2,900 zloty per tonne CPT, according to sources. Levels higher than this were not accepted by the wider market.

Fastmarkets’ weekly price assessment for steel wire rod (drawing quality), domestic, delivered Poland was 2,850-2,900 zloty per tonne on Friday, unchanged from November 10.

Offers of imported material from European producers were heard at around €625-630 per tonne CPT.

Offers of imported mesh-grade material from Ukraine were heard at €605 per tonne ex-works. Some small quantities were also traded at this price during the assessment week, sources said.

Published by: Darina Kahramanova


ArcelorMittal Poland idles rod mill, tests electric truck

ArcelorMittal Poland (AMP) has idled the wire rod mill at its Sosnowiec plant from 18-26 November due to the difficult situation in the domestic market, it says.

This follows an “in-depth analysis of all options,” the steelmaker adds. It cites Polish Steel Association figures showing apparent steel consumption in Poland is down 17% on-year.

In other news, AMP carried out the first test at ArcelorMittal Europe of transporting steel to a customer on an electric truck. The vehicle travelled from Silesia to Krakow and back, transporting a total of 200 tonnes of galv. The Volvo FH Electric truck equipped with eight batteries made ten trips in five days and covered a total distance of over 1,000km. This cut CO2 emissions from the firm’s land transport by over 1.5 tonnes.

The ArcelorMittal Group aims to reduce its CO2 emissions by 35% by 2030, with decarbonising product transport being an important component, Kallanish notes.

“We have a long way to go before a possible transition to electric transport; we must remember the challenges we face in the area of ​​energy and infrastructure, but I believe that electricity is the future in short-distance logistics and internal transport, which allows us to make the most of the possibilities of electric vehicles,” says AMP chief executive Wojciech Koszuta.

Deliveries made solely by electric vehicles are still a long way off, with the new solution currently very expensive, while public infrastructure for passenger cars is used to charge trucks, AMP observes. However, this will become a more viable option for industry going forward.

AMP plans to convert its Dabrowa Gornicza blast furnace steelworks into an electric arc furnace operation in future. The firm saw crude steel production fall 15% on-year in 2022 to 3.4 million tonnes, thereby dropping below 2020-pandemic output of 3.9mt.

Adam Smith Poland



China stimulus firms 2024 steel outlook: Cargill

Steel supply and demand is in balance towards the end of the year, with global EAF-based production having been curtailed as Chinese exports increased this year, while expectations for Chinese stimulus are firming sentiment into 2024, according to Cargill Metals managing director Lee Kirk.

Over 100 million tonnes fewer of scrap were consumed this year globally excluding China, but with no resulting downward pressure on scrap prices. This has prevented EAF mills from increasing their margins and ramping up steel production. China has meanwhile exported 19 million tonnes of steel more on-year so far in 2023, with the year expected to end at 25mt up on-year.

The Chinese market is “starting to get excited about 2024,” Kirk said during last week’s Capital Markets Update hosted by Cargill partner and iron ore miner Rana Gruber. “Sentiment is starting to shift. What we haven’t yet seen is a real increase in demand. We are in a situation where iron ore prices are starting to improve to the kind of highs we’ve seen in the last 24 months but largely because of expectations.”

“If we get a continuation of the stimulus rhetoric that turns into a real demand increase and we come out of Chinese New Year with stronger demand, then I think we have a very positive outlook for next year,” Kirk added during his presentation monitored by Kallanish.

The risks to this outlook are two-fold. The words around stimulus may not really turn into real demand, and the US may end up with some form of recession, he continued.

As for future low-emission steelmaking, although there is still uncertainty over the cost of producing hydrogen, the cost of coal-based production will simultaneously increase due to carbon taxes and reduced coal production. On the other side, green premiums are being established to account for the delta in steel, said Cargill customer and sustainability lead Leon Davies.

“We’ve seen, anecdotally, green steel traded, which is not green steel of the future but mass balanced green steel where steelmakers lower their overall carbon footprint by, say, 5% and then sell 5% of their steel as mass-balanced green steel … You’ve seen this trading in the market at around €150/tonne [premium] but with limited liquidity and transparency. But you’re also seeing clear established green premiums in some of the new green steel projects for the future as well. So, you’re getting both a cost impact on traditional steelmaking and a green premium for low-carbon steelmaking of the future.”

Adam Smith Poland