Italian long steel prices are flat compared to the first week of July but distributors and agents are reporting a very slow month. The expected restocking activity has not materialised and consumption this month has been very weak, particularly for merchant bar.
Demand for wire rod and sections has also been quiet. Producers are trying to defend prices because of high production costs, but it is becoming increasingly difficult.
Both steelmakers and distributors will implement longer stoppages this summer. Some are planning to shut down for as long as four weeks. Several sources at distribution companies are taking early holidays due to the quiet activity. Orders for both merchant bar, wire rod and beams are being done only back-to-back, Kallanish notes.
Prices for larger merchant bar volumes are flattening at €340-350/tonne ($376-387) base ex-works, while low tonnages are rumoured to be sold at €360-365/t. Including size extras, domestic values are at €760-780/t ex-works.
Sellers are also reporting lower sales for beams but volumes continue to be better compared to merchant bar. The first category of sections is hovering at €820-850/t ex-works including size extras.
Sellers say July has been worse than June in terms of prices and sales volumes. However, in the first six months of the year, some companies reported increased volumes compared to pre-pandemic levels of 2019, as well as relatively good financial results on average across all long products.
Natalia Capra France