Italian longs market enters standoff

Italian distributors of long products are reporting significantly reduced activity. Buyers are said to have cut their purchases because of continuous steep price increases, particularly in longs, which have slowed end-user activity.

Despite the sluggish market, all distributors have already reached their financial targets and will achieve record earnings this year. After very strong activity in May, German demand for imported long products is now slowing down as lower volumes, particularly of beams, are being sold to Germany, sources tell Kallanish.

Merchant bar contract prices are at €450-470/tonne ($534-558) base ex-works, with very few transactions at €500/t base ex-works. Including size extras, prices are at €870-920/t ex-works.

The first category of sections in producers’ asking prices is now at €600/t base ex-works. Including size extras, values are at €980-990/t ex-works but transactions are lagging behind at €950/t ex-works or less.

At present, clients prefer to buy from large distributors rather than producers who continue to compensate for slow domestic sales with strong exports to other European countries.

Natalia Capra France