Italian longs destocking takes toll on prices

The May market lull for long products in Italy is continuing into June with no sign of recovery. The distribution sector remains to be in a wait-and-see mood. Distributors tell Kallanish they continue to buy as little as possible as demand downstream does not signal any recovery.

However, despite uncertainty, some long products’ prices, such as for merchant bar and sections, are holding better than rebar and wire rod for which prices are declining sharply.

On average, merchant bar and sections have lost some €40-50/tonne ($42-52) versus the beginning of May. Merchant bar contracts stand at €780-820/t base ex-works. Including size extras, domestic contracts are hovering at €1,200-1,240/t ex-works, sources suggest.

Meanwhile, demand is also slowing for beams. The first category of sections remains at €1,380-1,390/t ex-works, including size extras.

On a more optimistic note, one source says that activity downstream is not so weak, and the recent standoff is a result of widespread destocking of the large volumes bought when prices were increasing in March. This significant destocking is forecast to last until the end of next month and some demand should hopefully resume in July.

Natalia Capra France