EU steel section prices fall sharply amid continued weak demand

European domestic steel sections prices continued to weaken in the week ended Nov. 23 amid persistent weak demand.

Platts assessed European medium sections (category 1, S235 JR) down Eur50 at Eur1,025/mt delivered on Nov. 23. The assessment has fallen Eur225 since mid-September.

“We consider the workable level to be more like Eur1,040-Eur1,050/mt delivered, but some of our competitors are more in the Eur1,020-Eur1,030/mt delivered level with some sporadic deals,” a Europe-based mill source said. “Demand is very low and customers are not in a hurry due to the year end but stock levels are also very low so we expect some restocking in the new year.”

The same source said the recent price correction had been larger than the recent fall in energy costs, and therefore the source expected prices would not go down further.

“[The] expectation is that energy prices will be up in the winter,” the same mill source added.

A second Europe-based mill source cited a seller target for medium sections (category 1, S235 JR) at Eur1,080/mt delivered, but accepted that demand was very low.

One distributor source in the Benelux region cited a tradable value for category 1 medium sections at Eur1,000/mt delivered and slightly lower, despite offers around Eur1,040/mt delivered and higher.

Meanwhile, Northwest European domestic rebar prices also fell amid poor demand. Platts assessed TSI Northwest Europe rebar down Eur15 on the week to Eur785/mt ex-works Nov. 23.

“We’re expecting a further downtrend as we’re not buying and neither are our competitors and our own order intake from end users is very weak,” the distributor source said.

Market sources largely suggested Eur800-Eur820/mt delivered was workable for rebar in Northern Europe, but one Italy-based mill source indicated that rebar prices around Eur785/mt delivered Germany were also possible from one German domestic producer, but this level was not repeated by other market participants.

“In Germany, there is not a lot of demand and the market is frozen,” the Italy-based mill source said.

Platts is part of S&P Global Commodity Insights.

— Viral Shah