French rebar activity stagnates

The French rebar market continues to stagnate, with demand weak from both end users and distributors, and the construction sector slowing, sources tell Kallanish.

Domestic steelmakers continue to implement stoppages a few days per week and are reported to have relatively high stocks. The production cuts, however, are not easing market overcapacity, as consumption is low and sales are mostly back-to-back, both in the north and south of the country. Production plans are also changing constantly, according to daily prices of gas and electricity.

Distributors say that uncertainty continues to impact the private residential construction sector. Some new projects are being put off because of the high prices of raw materials. A general wait-and-see attitude is being reported on the side of rebar buyers.

French domestic rebar contracts are mostly stable on September at an average of €880-910/tonne ($853-882) ex-works, including size extras. The low and high points of the range depend on client and tonnage, sources suggest. Some slightly lower-priced material sales are being reported, particularly in southern France, coming from Spanish and Italian producers.

Meanwhile, buying activity on the German rebar market is also subdued after many distributors filled their inventories until the end of October. Following the buying spree at summer base prices of €750-800/t, mills started quoting prices at firmly above €800/t. This time, however, observers believe prices ultimately paid could likely undercut the previous lower end of the range (see Kallanish passim).

Natalia Capra France