Europe longs: Mills expect firmer market

Most European producers increased their offers for long products this week, anticipating demand to improve after the Easter holiday period and propped up by a rebound in scrap costs.

The Argus weekly Italian rebar and drawing-quality wire rod assessments remained at €570/t ($620/t) ex-works and €645/t delivered, respectively.

In Italy, rebar sales prices remained at €560-570/t ex-works, including extras for sizes, but mills announced offers at up to €600/t ex-works, referring to increasing scrap costs. Buyers were sceptical about the price increases as mills still needed to fill their April order books and there were no expectations for substantial increases in consumption. Buyers that needed to replenish stocks placed orders in late March, when there were signs that prices had bottomed out.

In the nearby markets, no fresh offers were reported. Rebar was quoted at €570-580/t fca late last week, when some Italian mills were eager for new sales. In particular, the tradeable value for rebar in Poland was reported at €615-620/t delivered this week, while in late March deals were concluded slightly below this. In the meantime, offers for Polish rebar stood at €625-630/t delivered to domestic buyers, while in nearby markets prices were pegged at €625-640/t delivered. Similar prices were available for overseas material from docks in the Baltic region.

In Germany, prices for small-to-medium purchases of rebar remained at €630-640/t delivered. Spanish rebar was still quoted at €615/t cfr to northwest Europe, with small discounts deemed available. But mills are likely to try and increase prices should they see demand.

In the Balkan region, Bulgarian rebar prices settled at 1,190-1,210 lev/t (€608-619/t) delivered late last week, while in Romania rebar was available at €630-640/t delivered.

But some customers showed more interest in overseas offers in late March. Rebar was mainly booked from Turkey, as prices were at $585-590/t fob, which would be below €600/t delivered in any region. Egyptian rebar was quoted at $580-590/t fob, but was available for later shipment.

Southern and northwestern European customers were booking Asian wire rod at $520/t fob in late March, which is estimated at no higher than $600/t cfr depending on the ports. Some buyers expressed concerns that the next “other countries” quota could be exhausted promptly again, as almost 83,771t were awaiting clearance in the first days of April. Turkish allocation was estimated to be filled promptly in this period too.

Trade restrictions supported stronger prices for wire rod in Europe, with mills announcing up to €20/t price increases. In particular, new offers for drawing quality material in the Italian market were indicated at €650/t delivered. In other markets, mills pushed up offers from €660/t delivered to up to €680/t delivered. Mesh quality wire rod in Germany and other nearby markets was available at €620-630/t delivered.