Italian longs market stand-off continues

The Italian longs market remains uneventful, as the wave of increases announced by producers in September have not spurred any additional demand. Sales activity for merchant bar, wire rod, and sections remain slow. All steelmakers are stopping their plants on alternate weeks due to the prohibitive cost of energy and to balance demand and supply.

Service centres and distributors are resisting new increases as the high prices are not being accepted by the final customers. Merchant bar suppliers increased their values by €50/tonne ($49.9/t) compared to August, but the move has not been successful so far and customers continue to purchase material at August prices, between €670-680/t base ex-works.

Very few transactions have happened so far at €720/t base ex-works and only for small tonnages. The merchant bar market remains in a lull, with the distribution sector in wait-and-see mode, sources tell Kallanish. Including size extras, contract prices are flat on-month at €1,090-1,100/t ex-works. Producers are now asking for €730-750/t base ex-works.

Demand has also remained flat for sections since the market restarted after the August holiday break. End-users and distributors see a continued stand-off. Beams contract values for the first category, however, increased on-month to €1,200-1,250/t ex-works, depending on tonnage. Producers are pushing up prices for the second time this month by €50/t and are asking this week €1,300/t on high energy costs. At the beginning of September they were asking around €1,250/t ex-works for the first category of beams, sources suggest.

Natalia Capra France