Italian long products are expected to increase a further €50/tonne ($54/t) in April contracts. Between this week and next, merchant bars, sections and wire rod prices are seen hiking in line with domestic scrap, which is also forecast to increase in April, distribution sources tell Kallanish.
Apparent steel demand, or buying to fill stocks, has returned to the market after over a year’s absence during which much business was done back-to-back. In March, demand from both distribution and end-users has been extremely high for all long products, particularly for beams which are also seeing strong export market demand. Buyers in Germany and Central and Eastern Europe are currently shopping in Italy, impacted by the lack of finished product coming from the CIS.
Demand for wire rod and merchant bar is said to be strong, particularly for the export market. However, after the general restocking registered in March, April’s buying activity is expected to be slightly slower, but will pick up again by the end of the month and into May.
Today, before the new expected increases, the first category of sections is sold at approximately €1,500/t ex-works. Merchant bar is at €790-850/t base ex-works, or €1,210-1,270/t ex-works including size extras. Domestic drawing-quality wire rod is at €1,130-1,150/t ex-works, sources suggest.
Natalia Capra France