French rebar buyers wait, observe market following increases

The French rebar market continues to stagnate amid low activity, with the exception being some orders from infrastructure projects, Kallanish hears from market participants.

After producers increased prices last week, distributors registered a mild increase in orders at old values. Some sources doubt the hikes will stick due to lower consumption downstream, and believe the market is headed for production stoppages. Other sellers foresee a more moderate increase of €10-20/tonne ($10.4-20.9).

Following the hikes, the market has become “frozen”. Construction companies, purchasing groups and distributors’ customers are adopting a wait-and-see attitude, looking at each other and other international markets for guidance.

The market will need a few days to adjust before accepting and paying the increases. Meanwhile, prices remain stable compared to September, with the market slow and uneventful. Distributors say business is being carried out from day to day, with practically zero visibility. Rebar prices are mostly stable at €600/t delivered on average, sources suggest.

Last week, some steelmakers in France, Spain and Germany pushed up rebar prices by an average of €50/t compared to early September, as prices were near cost levels.

Steelmakers in Europe are facing high energy and raw material costs, as well as lower consumption of rebar, which is particularly hitting Germany. Rebar makers in Italy also pushed up prices (see Kallanish passim). Some sources expect Italian rebar makers to offer in France at cheaper than domestic prices.

Natalia Capra France