Market stable in Northern European rebar market amid public holiday closures; wire rod prices rise

There was little activity in Europe’s long steel market in the week to Wednesday November 1, amid public holidays in the region, mill closures and slow demand, sources Fastmarkets.

But there was an uptrend in Northern European wire rod prices in the week to Wednesday, with mills targeting higher prices to offset rising feedstock costs, production cuts and increasing resistance to the acceptance of below-cost prices, sources said.

Fastmarkets’ weekly price assessment for steel reinforcing bar (rebar), domestic, delivered Northern Europe, was €610-630 ($644-665) per tonne on Wednesday, narrowing by €10 per tonne from €610-640 per tonne.

Prices remained largely stable in the Northern European rebar market after mills targeted increased offer prices in late October. Demand has improved slightly and those price hikes have largely been accepted by the market, given the higher feedstock and logistics costs and production cuts.

And despite overall consumption remaining relatively subdued, buyers with low stocks are returning to the market and buying low volumes, sources said.

Due to public holidays on November 1 across Europe, activity remained a near-zero in the middle of the week.

“There are public holidays on November 1 across Europe, so the market is not moving. As a result, the rebar market is unchanged,” a buyer source said.

And a second buyer source said: “The market is frozen due to low tonnages being booked and public holidays.”

Other sources remained optimistic about higher prices in November, however.

“Mills have managed to raise prices by €30-40 per tonne through October and with low stocks, buyers need to restock even if it’s only low tonnages, so it is likely that prices will remain stable or continue to edge upwards in the coming month,” a trader source said.

Mills have cut production in a bid to rebalance the supply-demand dynamics, sources said.

Fastmarkets’ corresponding weekly price assessment for steel wire rod (mesh quality), domestic, delivered Northern Europe, was €600-630 per tonne on Wednesday, up by €5-30 per tonne from €595-600 per tonne.

Sources reported increased offer prices amid the production cuts and a small uptick in consumption.

“Mills have no choice but to raise their prices despite slow activity. Mills are losing money every month and cannot reduce selling prices because the volumes are slow anyway – regardless of the price,” a wire rod buyer source said.

“Everyone will have losses this year and so it is no longer an option to push prices down,” the source added.

Published by: India-Inés Levy