Europe mbars, beams: Price hikes yet to materialise

13 Jan 2023 16:50 GMT

London, 13 January (Argus) — European beams and merchant bar suppliers started this week with announcements of significant price increases, referring to rising scrap and finished product offers in the international market, but concluded that most customers have low stocks.

The latest workable levels were reported at lower prices than in early December, as mills were trying to stimulate sales after decreased energy costs reduced pressure on prices.

Tradable values for Italian H-beam 100-180mm S275JR decreased by €40/t since early December to €1,030-1,050/t ex-works in the domestic market earlier this week, with further discounts of about €30/t heard available for sizeable tonnages.

But some EU mills have yet to restart production, offering material mainly from stocks. Nevertheless, this week market leader ArcelorMittal was reported as targeting price hikes of €50/t across the EU region, with a £65/t price rise announced in the UK today during more substantial increases in input costs. British Steel hiked official offers by £75/t earlier this week, targeting levels of about £925/t delivered for H-beam of S355JO grade over 180mm, and slightly higher for smaller tonnages. But customers in the UK were reluctant to accept new levels, as their stock levels were not so low as in continental Europe, a UK market participant said. Also, consumption is expected to be slower this year, the participant added. As a result, some customers were quite pessimistic about new price hikes, expecting orders to be placed closer to previous levels, at mid-£850/t delivered, while others were expecting sale levels of no lower than £900/t delivered for larger volumes.

Italian small-sized merchant bar prices fell by €20-30/t to €960-980/t ex-works. But sentiment was reported to have improved during the upward trend in Europe and outside the region. As a result, some demand was heard from larger-scale projects for both local and imported material.

Turkish small-sized round and flat bars of S235JR quality were quoted at $750-770/t fob this week at a time of higher scrap costs. But customers were willing to place orders only at older prices, a Turkish market participant said.

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