Austrians question German rebar price craze

Rebar prices in Germany have been surging in April without much restraint, and without much resistance from the market. Most German players have signalled acceptance for a base price level of €1,200/tonne ($1,270) from local mills, and some concede they have paid more or are prepared to do so.

In Austria, buyers are much more reserved. “Prices here were never that high,” one manager tells Kallanish. “It may have been the wish of the steelworks [to reach these price levels]. They have pointed that high, but not because they believe in it, but to safeguard the previous price step,” he adds. German and Austrian mills have fetched around €1,050/t in the Austrian market, but not much more. Adding the standard size extra of €265, the highest delivered price he has heard is €1,300/t.

Another buyer of reasonable volumes sees base prices inching above €1,100/t. Both, however, doubt the validity of the current price level, and believe that a downward correction is the next logical step – quite in contrast to the sentiment among German players. “I think the limit has been reached, and I expect prices to fall by €80-90 over the next week,” the second buyer says.

Austria is of course sandwiched between the solid German market, with its enormous price leaps, and Italy, where values are hovering at a little over €900/t. Apparently, Italian mills are trying to gain more business further north, due to low demand in their own country. According to the first manager, an Italian load to Austria recently cost him €1,000/t.

Christian Koehl Germany