French rebar demand remains weak, prices stable

French rebar activity remains weak, with demand unreliable but prices stable. Relatively small sales volumes are reported in September as the sector has yet not properly resumed after the August summer break, sources tell Kallanish.

Buyers are only purchasing between 2,000-3,000 tonnes per order and less from distributors. Consumers’ confidence is said to be low, and uncertainty is slowing the private residential construction market. According to distributors, new projects are being put off and construction firms may not be willing to absorb any more price hikes.

Some slightly lower-priced material sales are reported in France from Spanish and Italian producers. Domestic rebar contracts are stable on August at an average of €950/tonne ($947) ex-works including size extras. They have a low point of the range at €850-900/t and a high point of the range at €1,100/t ex-works depending on client and tonnage, sources suggest.

French scrap this month is stable compared to August but scrap merchants are lamenting lower sales volumes. French flat and long steelmakers are implementing production halts due to the high cost of energy. Production plans however change by the day according to the daily levels of gas and electricity, Kallanish notes.

According to l’Institut National de la Statistique et des Études Économiques (Insee), sentiment among French construction companies improved in August compared to July. However, although their outlook for the next three months of activity has improved, companies’ opinion of the past three months’ activity has deteriorated. Companies continue to face supply difficulties and will limit their production capacity (see Kallanish 5 September).

Natalia Capra France