Italian longs prices hold despite sluggish market

The uneventful market and little appetite to buy are slowing Italian long products trading. Sources who spoke to Kallanish say that sales occurred only back-to-back in April and the distribution sector has adopted a wait-and-see attitude, due also to unsustainably high prices.

This follows the booming month of March when a significant re-stocking process was responsible for very high sales volumes.

No more price increases are envisaged for the moment in Italy. Despite the sluggish demand, however, sales prices remain stable month-on-month and elevated on account of the production stoppages implemented by steelmakers during energy peak hours.

Merchant bar is currently at €800-890/tonne ($845-941/t) base ex-works, mostly stable compared to the previous week. The level of €890/t has been achieved for very low quantities. Including size extras, domestic contracts are hovering at €1,220-1,310/t ex-works, sources suggest.

Meanwhile, stable prices are also reported for sections. The first category of sections remains at €1,500-1,540/t ex-works, including size extras. Limited availability continues to persist for both merchant bar and beams. Some sources forecast that if the slow demand continues in May, longs prices will decline some €20-30/t.

Natalia Capra France