Mills target price rises in Southern European long steel market, demand remains weak

Prices remained broadly stable in the Southern European long steel market in the week to Wednesday October 25, amid ongoing slow demand.

With input costs rising, mills have targeted increased offer prices for November. But whether the market will accept these price rises remains to be seen, sources said.

Fastmarkets price assessment for steel reinforcing bar (rebar) domestic, exw Italy was €580-615 ($614-651) per tonne on Wednesday, narrowing by €5 per tonne from €575-620 last week.

Mills in the Italian rebar market withdrew from the market in the week to October 25, and will return to the market with higher offer prices toward the end of October or the beginning of November, sources said.

Low demand, high stocks and high input costs resulted in broadly unchanged prices, sources said.

“Producers are trying to increase rebar prices by €20-30 per tonne, but demand remains very low and customers have bought at lower prices through early-to-mid October so it’s difficult to close new orders at a higher price,” a buyer source said.

“Building activity is slow due to high-priced materials, high inflation, high bank rates and now bad weather,” the source added.

Despite weak economic conditions, mills will raise prices to cover their costs, sources said.

“I would say most mills are targeting €30-per-tonne price increases. Customers acknowledge the dignity of the requests for new prices and we are confident [that] November will bring increases on the portfolio,” a producer source told Fastmarkets.

Offer prices were reported at around €610-630 per tonne EXW, while estimates of workable prices were closer to €580-600 per tonne, sources told Fastmarkets.

The market remains in wait-and-see mode, holding out to see whether these prices rises will be accepted.

“Producers are trying to increase the price because they have said that during the past month they have lost money,” a second buyer source in the region said.

And a trader source told Fastmarkets: “Offer prices are rising but, with weak demand, the mills are hardly selling, so it is difficult to ascertain the correct price,” a trader source said.

Fastmarkets’ price assessment for steel reinforcing bar (rebar), domestic, delivered, Spain, meanwhile, was €590-615 per tonne stable week-on-week.

Southern European wire rod
Sentiment remained depressed in the Southern European wire rod market amid weak demand.

Fastmarkets’ price assessment for steel wire rod (mesh quality), domestic, delivered Southern Europe, was €570-590 per tonne on Wednesday, stable week-on-week.

“Prices are stable around €580 per tonne EXW, but with costs increasing and an upward trend across long steel products in Europe, mills are likely to push for higher prices in the wire rod market,” a producer source said.

Published by: India-Inés Levy