Italian distribution sees slow downstream market

The Italian distribution sector reports slow domestic demand for coils derivatives and particularly welded tubes, for which prices continue to lag behind the latest hot rolled coil price increases. Demand however is forecast to be supported by the Turkish earthquake

The disaster is causing a drastic reduction of tube volumes traded into Europe. The large northern European buyers are seen purchasing their volumes only in Europe as a consequence. This should sustain southern European re-rollers’ prices and sales, market sources say.

Some high-grade and structural tubes remain in short supply. However, for the moment Italian end-users continue to strongly oppose any reduction in the tube-making coil discounts implemented by re-rollers. Tube discounts are now at 29-30 points. Each point of discount equals €12-13/tonne ($12.7-13.8). Tube producers are pushing their prices up and trying to decrease discounts to the level of 25 points by the end of the month, Kallanish notes.

Some more sustained demand is reported for sheets, for which asking prices are also increasing. Sheet producers are asking some €900/t ex-works for hot rolled sheets with April lead time and €960/t for galvanised grades.

The distributors see prices gradually decreasing in long product markets, affected by continued slow demand, stagnation, and uncertainty. Merchant bar prices are at €910-920/t ex-works with some producers reducing output to balance demand and supply. The first category of beams has also fallen to €950-960/t ex-works while rebar values have declined to €700-720/t ex-works including extras, sources suggest.

Natalia Capra France