Italian long products prices are not increasing as was hoped, following weak demand in January and limited consumption.
Merchant bar transaction values are mostly flattening compared to the beginning of the month. A European mill source says it is particularly difficult to raise prices in any EU country because of continuously subdued consumption and only back-to-back sales.
Italian distributors and agents however had a relatively satisfactory month in January in terms of sales, thanks to other products such as beams and wire rod derivatives, sources tell Kallanish.
Domestic merchant bar values are hovering at €340-360/tonne ($368-389) base delivered. Including size extras, prices are at €750-770/t, sources suggest.
Demand for wire rod derivatives is sizzling. Sellers report full order books and lengthening lead times. A source believes this is happening because a steelmaker an eastern European is allocating fewer tonnages to Italy. Prices for wire rod derivatives are therefore on the upward trend, with delivery at the end of the first quarter.
Sources do not expect other long product values in Italy to rise next month and consumption is seen mostly remaining at the weak levels of Q4 2023.
Natalia Capra France