EU steel rebar, section prices continue to fall as mills chase orders

European domestic steel sections prices continued to fall week on week Nov. 30, as mills cut offers further to attract demand.

Platts assessed European medium sections (category 1, S235 JR) down Eur40/mt at Eur985/mt delivered on Nov. 30. The assessment has fallen Eur265/mt since mid-September, Platts data showed.

A deal for 1,000 mt was booked Nov. 28 at Eur970/mt (S235 JR, Cat 1) delivered Benelux, by a distributor source, while a second distributor source said Eur1,000/mt delivered was considered workable, but only for delivery by end-December.

“We have received the message that mills may increase prices as they are expecting higher costs in January, so mills have two options — to cut production or raise prices,” the second distributor source said.

Meanwhile, Northwest European domestic rebar prices fell sharply amid poor demand. Platts assessed TSI Northwest Europe rebar down Eur32.50/mt on the week at Eur752.50/mt ex-works on Nov. 30.

The assessment is now well below the Eur822.50/mt delivered level seen on Feb. 23, prior to the outbreak of the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Following the outbreak of the war, EU domestic rebar prices eventually rose to an all-time peak of Eur1,340/mt delivered on March 30, before falling steadily for the rest of the year.

“The [rebar] price now is a political price to try and break open the market and see some activity but the price does not even cover the cost of production for rebar — and scrap costs are also increasing,” one sell-side source said, citing offers at Eur765-775/mt delivered.

The source added that December delivery of rebar was difficult amid the short working month due to holidays, and that he was advising customers to buy at current prices for January or February delivery, rather than wait, as he expected prices to go up

One Italian mill source indicated that German domestic rebar prices were as low as Eur745-750/mt delivered in the local market, adding that offers for Italian-origin rebar at Eur750/mt delivered were of little interest to German buyers.

“But this is the bottom of the market, buyers also understand this — we can’t go lower than this as energy costs are rising, and scrap is rising,” the Italian mill source said.

Platts is part of S&P Global Commodity Insights.

— Viral Shah