Italian wire rod market sluggishness continues

The Italian wire rod market continues to be sluggish, with sales thin and customers adopting a wait-and-see attitude or purchasing on the import market thanks to competitive offers.

Quotes from local steelmakers last month of €1,200/tonne ($1,263/t) for drawing-quality material are now reported to be unachievable, and producers are now asking for approximately €1,150/t. Some end-use sectors have stopped buying altogether, sources say. The general market trend is now to wait for prices to decline further in May.

Distributors tell Kallanish their sales were extremely high in March before April turned quiet. Producers still managed to sell acceptable volumes in April however as demand resumed towards the end of the month. Sales in May are weak so far, say sellers, but end users and distributors are expected to come back to purchasing because of the lower volumes ordered last month.

Import offers are reported at below the level of €1,000/t cfr Italy. Some offers from North Africa are reported at €1,120/t cfr.

Italian domestic drawing-quality wire rod prices are flat compared to the end of April at €1,100-1,150/t ex-works, sources suggest.

Meanwhile, northern European wire rod prices are also flattening and some sources expect prices to decline slightly in May. Domestic transaction prices for drawing-quality wire rod are at €1,250/t ex-works on average.

Natalia Capra France