Italian rebar demand expected to rise, prices stabilise

Italian rebar prices remain stable compared to last month but producers increased their asking values before shutting down production for the Christmas holiday break. Market activity is expected to resume on Monday 9 January as all Italian rebar makers are restarting production after two weeks’ stoppages, market sources tell Kallanish.

This week, mills are asking for €560/tonne ($588) base ex-works. This is up from last month’s €520-530/t base ex-works after several attempts to increase prices above €550/t base ex-works.

Agents and sales executives expect an increased level of orders in the coming days after a few days of wait-and-see attitude. The buyers which spoke to Kallanish will try to resist all increases. Uncertainty and high prices caused slow sales in Q4 last year with customers in the construction sector refusing to accept any price hikes. So far rebar contracts in Italy are mostly stable in the range of €500-520/t base ex-works. Including size extras, domestic rebar prices have flattened at €760-790/t ex-works. Mesh also remains at €610-620/t ex-works base, sources suggest.

Buyers see a struggling construction sector, and slow demand also caused by subsidy cuts in budget spending this year. The financial support from the European recovery fund has yet to reach Italy and uncertainty is expected to drag on sales in January after a relatively slow December. The national institute of statistics Istat said last month that construction activity in Italy ticked down in October. Scrap and energy prices however are seen supporting rebar values as they are set to increase in all European countries, Kallanish notes.

Natalia Capra France