Italian longs downturn continues

The downturn of long product sales in Italy is persisting in July as sellers lament low sales volumes and only back-to-back purchases.

Sources tell Kallanish prices for merchant bars decreased strongly over the past weeks, by some €80/tonne ($81) compared to June. Lack of apparent demand and low volumes are responsible for this month’s early production stoppages across all merchant bar producers. At present, domestic contracts hover at €700-750/tonne base ex-works. Including size extras, values reach €1,120-1,170/t ex-works, sources suggest.

Some restocking is happening for beams where buyers have purchased some low tonnages for September before shutting down in August. General market activity however remains weak. The first category of beams stands now at €1,250/t ex-works on average, including size extras, sources suggest.

Meanwhile, a major European supplier of long products has started communicating to the market its intention to raise prices for commodity-grade long products by as much as €60/tonne from the lowest point registered at the end of June. A senior source confirms that some small increases of €30-40/t have already been achieved in some markets, but that a stronger price recovery is now possible (see Kallanish 13 July).

Natalia Capra France