Europe longs: mills try to raise offers

The upwards trend seen in the international longs market encouraged European suppliers to increase offers recently, but demand has yet to materialise amid sufficient stocks and slow construction activity.

The Argus weekly Italian rebar and drawing-quality wire rod assessments were steady at €740/t ex-works and €695/t delivered.

Italian producers have started discussing price increases in the past few days, citing stronger global markets. Sources expect levels to rise by €20-30/t, while latest workable levels for rebar were reported at €740-750/t ex-works locally, including extras for sizes. For larger volumes, €720/t ex-works and slightly below was heard achievable late last week, also reflecting softer energy costs.

In the meantime, tradeable values for drawing quality wire rod were reported at €680-710/t delivered in Italy and at €670-680/t delivered in Spain, amid high pressure from overseas markets, but there mills were also seeking higher prices now.

Latest levels from Italy were at €680-700/t delivered for rebar and wire rod for central European markets, with rebar in coils at €720-730/t delivered. Some markets looked frozen, with weak demand and a lack of projects and new works, an Italian participant said. There is a small price difference in the north-south and east-west regions, he added. The outlook was particularly negative for the private sector, but some recovery is generally expected in the near term, with the construction season approaching.

In the Balkans, Italian wire rod was available as low as €620/t fob/fca and rebar in coils at €640/t fob/fca, reflecting strong competition with overseas and regional suppliers. In Bulgaria, rebar was available at €695-705/t delivered, in Romania prices were slightly below these, depending on the tonnage, at least by €10-20/t for smaller lots.

Egyptian and Algerian suppliers were indicating offers for wire rod at $660-670/t fob this week, but were willing to negotiate small discounts. In particular, workable levels for Egyptian wire rod and rebar to the Balkan region were reported at €645-655/t cfr for positional cargoes and producers. Rebar sales from Egypt were heard last week, but the details could not be obtained.