Polish rebar producers seek higher prices

Domestic prices for steel rebar in Poland widened upward on higher offers in the week to Friday September 1, but the market was still lacking clear direction, industry sources told Fastmarkets.

Fastmarkets’ weekly price assessment for steel reinforcing bar (rebar), domestic, exw Poland, was 2,630-2,680 zloty ($640-652) per tonne on Friday, widening upward by 30 zloty per tonne from 2,630-2,650 per tonne on September 25.

A trading source told Fastmarkets that an integrated mill in Poland was selling rebar in the domestic market at 2,650 zloty per tonne CPT, during the assessment week, which would be equivalent to about 2,630 zloty per tonne ex-works.

A second trading source said that local producers were trading rebar at 2,650-2,680 zloty per tonne CPT, which would net back to about 2,630-2,650 zloty per tonne ex-works.

A third market source confirmed the same domestic price levels in Poland.

Sources reported that mills in Poland were trying to push offers to 2,680-2700 zloty per tonne ex-works, but buyers were largely holding back, still assessing the market situation.

In general, the local rebar market in Poland was still quiet and lacking clear direction after the summer lull, sources told Fastmarkets.

Market sources expected to see more clarity on price direction during the week starting September 4. Notably, sources told Fastmarkets that scrap contracts would be settled next week, which will be decisive for finished steel prices, since scrap is a key raw material used in rebar production.

Market participants shared mixed expectations for the post-summer developments, although they all agreed that mills would continue trying to increase prices to cover costs.

One industry source suggested that the rebar prices would go down to 2,550 zloty per tonne CPT within the next few weeks despite mills’ attempts to cut output, since end-user demand was still on the low side.

Other sources, however, were a bit more optimistic, claiming that end-user demand for rebar was set to improve in September due to an expected recovery in the residential construction sub-sector in Poland.

In July, the Polish government launched a support program for the nation’s first homebuyers, offering housing loans with a fixed 2% interest rate over 10 years, with the difference to the actual interest rate covered by the state.

The program, which is available to young people for their first house or apartment purchase, is supposed to stimulate residential construction, according to sources.

Published by: Julia BolotovaDarina Kahramanova

Dillinger, SMS step up digitalisation of processes

Platemaker Dillinger Hüttenwerke and plantbuilder SMS group have announced a cooperative agreement to optimise blast furnace operation by modelling and digitalising logistics processes, Kallanish learns.

The cooperation covers raw material tracking based on SMS group’s BFXpert software, which include three digital models that accurately track the bulk materials along the burdening-to-blast furnace process chain, SMS says.

According to the plantbuilder, digital mapping of material conveyance through the material feed models enables predictive problem analysis and monitoring of digital values. As a result, Dillinger is able to manage the hoppers with low staffing levels and produce 10,000 tonnes of hot metal every day. Similarly, load peaks can be reduced by utilising load-optimised belt feeding, and the transport of spherical goods on conveyors is enhanced by preventing unwanted discharges from inclined conveyors.

The hopper model delivers a real-time calculation of the material distribution, the partners explain. Dillinger’s technology officer, Peter Maagh, highlights the system’s ability to adapt quickly to changes in feedstock qualities. “Their implementation has led to more efficient logistical planning with regard to the input and circulated material, as well as improved maintenance practices,” he says.

Christian Koehl Germany

Italian longs buyers await guidance in quiet market

The Italian long steel market remains quiet as some mills resumed activity last week and others are restarting production this week. Both mill and distribution sources expect the quiet to persist even as demand returns properly next week. Buyers remain on the fence looking at national and international raw material and finished products trends for guidance, Kallanish notes.

No price increases for merchant bar, sections, wire rod and rebar are expected in the coming weeks and the market indicates current and future price stability considering the subdued consumption seen in the past months. While Italy, France and Spain have been quiet due to the seasonal August break, other markets which are traditionally dynamic in August have also been quiet this year with many executives still on holiday. Italian sellers report very limited export sales in August across all long products.

Prices for merchant bar are flat at €340-360/tonne ($368-390) base ex-works. Including size extras, domestic values are at €760-780/t ex-works, while the first category of sections is hovering at €830-850/t ex-works including size extras. Drawing quality wire rod is also reported flat at €570-580/t delivered and rebar prices are flat at €600-630/t including size extras with demand low, Kallanish notes.

End-users are said to have some work despite the general wait-and-see attitude and low visibility. Long product demand is said to be at pre-pandemic levels. Some distributors talk about a consumption similar to that of 2017.

Natalia Capra France

Swedish steel production dips in first half

Crude steel production of Swedish mills in the first six months of the year totalled 2.305 million tonnes, 4.5% less than in the first half of 2022, according to national steel association Jernkontoret.

While the monthly production gap widened somewhat in June with 365,000 tonnes and a y-on-y spread of 5.4%, the gap was slightly less pronounced in July with minus 3.4% and 314,000 tonnes.

Still, Jernkonteret emphasises the declining trend of steel production compared with 2022. “July is a month when production often drops,” says Mathias Ternell, trade policy director at Jernkontoret. However, the overall trend of a lower rate of crude steel production “has continued during the summer, confirmed by the fact that July 2023 production is lower than in July 2022,” he says.

The production statistics are based on data from eleven steel producers in Sweden, Kallanish learns from the association. In the full year 2022, crude steel production was already 5.9% lower than in 2021, totalling 4.4m tonnes.

Deliveries of steel finished products in 2022 amounted to 3.2 million tonnes. The majority of the deliveries were exported. About two-thirds of the total crude steel production in Sweden is ore-based, and more than half of the production is high-grade alloy steels, while most plain steel grades are imported, Jernkontoret notes.

Christian Koehl Germany

Celsa awards Tarragona logistics to Bergé

Spanish longs supplier Celsa has awarded a contract for services and stocking in the port of Tarragona to logistics company Bergé, Kallanish learns from the operator.

“According to the agreement, we will transport and load almost 300,000 tons of steel per year from the Celsa plant in Castellbisbal, mainly destined for export in the Mediterranean,” Bergé says. “We will also provide stocking and port stowage services for loading mainly steel profiles to ships ranging between 3,000-7,000t.”

The port of Tarragona involves an area of 50,000m2 with multipurpose operational fields, including warehouses with a capacity of 150,000t.

Bergé already supplies logistics services for Group’s companies Global Steel Wire in Santander and Nervacero in Vizcaya.

Todor Kirkov Bulgaria

Acciaierie d’Italia to provide steel for the Floating Offshore Wind project

Author Annalisa Villa

Acciaierie d’Italia, the second largest Italian flat steel producer, will be part of the project “Floating Offshore Wind Community,” a project created by the European House think-tank Ambrosetti in partnership with renewable energy player Renantis, BlueFloat Energy and shipbuilder Fincantieri.

Acciaierie d’Italia will provide steel and other materials for the construction of floating platforms for offshore wind farms, taking advantage of ongoing decarbonization projects and its strategic, central position in the Mediterranean Sea, while receiving renewable energy in return.

The project was presented Sept. 1 and follows a memorandum of understanding signed in January, in which Acciaierie d’Italia entered into the partnership, which aims to develop renewable energy projects.

“The decarbonization of Italy and Europe must leverage the fundamental principle of technological neutrality: it is necessary to exploit the synergistic and complementary contribution of all available technologies,” Valerio De Molli, Managing Partner & CEO of The European House – Ambrosetti, said.

“In this process, floating offshore wind can be the key to accelerating the green transition, thanks to its energy potential and limited environmental and social impacts, as well as the positive effects on the Italian industrial supply chain,” De Molli said.

According to the Global Wind Energy Council, Italy has the third biggest potential for the floating wind market in the world, due to the morphological characteristics and formation of its seabed.

According to the Marine Offshore Renewable Energy Lab and the University Polytechnic of Turin, the Italian potential for floating offshore wind is equal to 207.3 GW in terms of power, and 540.8 TWh/year in terms of generation.

Acciaierie d’Italia’s Taranto steelworks is currently providing structural steel plates for onshore wind farms, with the company planning investment to upgrade the production line to produce high-strength, thick plates for floating offshore platforms.

EU HRC prices stable as market activity remains muted

Trading activity in the European hot-rolled coil market was slow Sept. 4, keeping domestic prices unchanged.

Northwest European steelmakers have been targeting prices of Eur700/mt ex-works Ruhr, and some Central European mills Eur710/mt delivered Germany, but buyers have been reluctant to accept such prices.

Market participants have estimated tradable values at Eur620-680/mt ex-works Ruhr, with the majority of data heard at around Eur670/mt ex-works Ruhr.

“Demand is weak,” a distributor said. “Prices of Eur650/mt ex-works are not flying. Prices of Eur620-630/mt ex-works would not guarantee deals either.”

Platts assessed domestic prices for hot-rolled coil in Northwest Europe at Eur670/mt ex-works Ruhr Sept. 4, unchanged day on day.

Platts assessed domestic prices for hot-rolled coil in South Europe up Eur5/mt day on day to Eur645/mt ex-works Italy Sept. 4. Tradable values have been reported at Eur640-650/mt ex-works Italy.

UK to maintain HRC trade barriers until 2027

The UK government confirmed this week that it will maintain the existing anti-dumping and countervailing measures on imports of HRC from China, Brazil, Iran and Russia at least until 2027.

Kallanish understands that the decision of the government follows the reccomendation of the local Trade Remedies Authority (TRA).

As a result, AD and countervailing measures against Chinese HRC will remain in place until 7 April 2027. AD duties against Russian, Brazilian and Iranian HRC will continue until 7 October 2027.

The government noted, also, that the existing ban on all imports from Russia remains in place and includes HRC. Similarly it confirmed the decision to revoke trade barriers on imports of Ukrainian HRC as “dumping of products from Ukraine was unlikely to recur, due to reduction in Ukraine’s production capacity and limits on the ability to export caused by the war with Russia.”

Emanuele Norsa Italy

High carbon FeCr prices tick up in Europe; buyers gradually return

High carbon ferro-chrome prices rose in Europe during the week to Tuesday August 29, amid rising offers from the sell side, while end users have gradually begun to return to the spot market following summer maintenance shutdowns.

Fastmarkets’ weekly price assessment for ferro-chrome high carbon 6-8.5% C, basis 65-70% Cr, max 1.5% Si, delivered Europe climbed to $1.75-1.94 per lb Cr on Tuesday, up 6.32% from the week before.

“Looking at the past week, [we only sold a small amount] but there are many enquiries coming in these days for delivery in September,” a ferro-chrome supplier said. “I guess starting from next week, we will see more movement.”

“With China being [firmer] and prices going up, as well as [Europe] returning to the market, we’re seeing an increase in [high carbon] transactions,” a seller added.

A source on the buy side added that offers had risen in recent days, with sellers increasingly unwilling to accept lower levels.

Prices were also up in the lower grade market, with reports of support from high input costs in India, which is a key supplier of the material.

Fastmarkets’ weekly price assessment for ferro-chrome high carbon 6-8.5% C, basis 60-64.9% Cr, max 3% Si, cif Europe rose to $1.13-1.20 per lb Cr, up 7.34% week on week.

Chrome ore prices have been rising in the country in recent weeks, with mining reportedly affected by the monsoon season there.

“Chrome ore prices in India have increased a lot, causing higher ferro-chrome prices,” a sell-side source in India told Fastmarkets. “It’s monsoon season now, and the rain has caused mining problems for chrome ore.”

Meanwhile, low carbon ferro-chrome prices moved into a wider range, amid reports from the buy side of strong supply and weak liquidity, versus the sell side’s reluctance to accept lower prices.

On Tuesday, Fastmarkets’ fortnightly price assessment for ferro-chrome 0.10% C, average 65-70% Cr, delivered Europe stood at $2.30-3.15 per lb Cr, compared with $2.35-3.00 per lb Cr as of the previous assessment. This marked an overall increase of 1.87%.

“Stocks are big and there’s low liquidity,” the buy-side source said. “There are lots of stocks in Rotterdam.”

“[We’ve had] no low carbon deals — we’re struggling in that market,” the seller added.

However, a second seller told Fastmarkets that it was still possible to achieve the higher levels seen in recent weeks, with reasonable liquidity over the course of August, and that he had not accepted lower bids.

“I’ve heard offers at [lower levels] but we haven’t lowered our prices,” he said. “If we do this, we’ll start to lose money. We’re still at our level of [a few] weeks ago.”

Meanwhile, there were also reports during the latest pricing session that the supply of lower-priced Chinese and possibly Indian low carbon ferro-chrome may be receding in Europe, with suggestions that access to the required grade of chrome ore may have decreased and that the opportunity to make a profit by selling into Europe had also faded.

“The ore supply is poor. They don’t have enough material coming and there’s not enough material [there] at the moment,” the buy-side source said.

“These cheaper imports… are much lower than what they used to be,” a distributor added. “If you look at the Chinese price [on a CIF basis] and add the duties and so on, it’s close to the current low and that’s a zero-profit price.”

According to the distributor, this could lead to reduced interest in exporting, which may provide some price support in Europe in the short term.

Published by: Claire Patel-Campbell

European CRC, HDG producers mull higher prices

European steelmakers intend to increase prices for downstream flat steel, while buyers are unconvinced about a strong rebound due to still-weak demand from end users, Fastmarkets heard on Wednesday August 30.

Firm offers for cold-rolled and hot-dip galvanized coil were still rare in Europe, because the market has not fully restarted after the summer holidays.

But mills were reportedly aiming for price rises, expecting restocking activity to support a rebound.

“The level of inventories is low across the entire supply chain; buyers will come back for volumes in September,” a mill source told Fastmarkets.

Buyer estimates of tradable values were between €750 ($811) and €770 per tonne ex-works for CRC and around €780-790 per tonne ex-works for HDG in Northern Europe.

One mill indicated a price idea for CRC at €800 per tonne EXW and around €800-810 per tonne for HDG.

But still-weak demand from end-use sectors, including automotive and construction, was the major stumbling block for a sustainable price rise, market sources said.

At the same time, European mills are said to be experiencing delays with their deliveries, especially for HDG, with delays reportedly at a minimum of 1-2 weeks from “practically all mills,” several trading sources told Fastmarkets.

European producers were also said to be trimming output, running “production campaigns for coated coils,” sources said.

“Mills run their HDG mills on demand, fulfilling the order, and then stop for 1-2 weeks. That means availability is reduced,” a trader in Germany said.

This was also due to a change in buying attitude because nowadays buyers prefer to book “strictly what they need and maintain stocks at low levels due to high market volatility,” another trader noted.

Fastmarkets’ weekly price assessment for steel cold-rolled coil domestic, exw Northern Europe, was €750-770 per tonne on Wednesday, widening up by €10 per tonne from €750-760 per tonne on August 23.

Fastmarkets’ corresponding weekly price assessment for steel hot-dipped galvanized coil domestic, exw Northern Europe, was €780-800 per tonne on Wednesday, unchanged since July 26.

Import offers for CRC and HDG to Europe were rather limited in the assessment week, sources said.

Most overseas suppliers were offering material for shipment in mid-October/early November, which would mean arrival would be in November and December.

One mill from South Korea was offering CRC to Southern Europe at €685 per tonne CFR, with a transaction reported at this level about 10 days ago.

Japan-origin CRC was on offer to Southern Europe at €700-710 per tonne CFR.

A Vietnamese supplier was said to be aiming for $830-840 per tonne CFR for 0.5mm HDG with z100-120 coating, for October shipment.

Published by: Julia Bolotova