Italian distributors hope price correction restores market confidence

Sluggish sales activity is continuing this week for all Italian coil derivatives and long products, distribution sources tell Kallanish.

Demand for some longs appears to be frozen. Rebar and merchant bar are declining in the latest contracts by some €30/tonne ($31/t) from the high point of the range seen last month. Slow demand in April has continued into May, with scrap prices in Europe forecast to decrease by €80-100/t this month, while coil prices remain on a downward trajectory.

The Italian distribution sector prefers to keep stocks low, convinced that May will bring a significant price adjustment. This would not however be perceived as a negative development. More reasonable values could bring some stability to a highly speculative market and restore confidence, pushing end users to resume ordering material towards the second half of May.

While welded tube discounts are increasing in Italy to the level of 15-17 points, merchant bar producers are currently asking for €810-850/t base ex-works, down from the highs of April of €890/t. Domestic contracts are hovering at €800-850/t base ex-works, equating to €1,220-1,270/t ex-works including size extras, sources suggest.

Stable prices are meanwhile being reported for sections. The first category of sections remains at €1,500-1,520/t ex-works, including size extras. Limited availability continues to persist of both merchant bar and beams.

Natalia Capra France