Northern Europe steel rebar prices hit market bottom, sources say

A pessimistic outlook and slow consumption among end-users resulted in prices falling in the Northern European rebar market in the week ending Wednesday November 2.Fastmarkets’ weekly price assessment for steel reinforcing bar (rebar), domestic, delivered Northern Europe, was €800-860 ($790-849) per tonne on Wednesday, down by €50-60 per tonne from €850-920 per tonne last week.

Weak consumption and a continued wait-and-see attitude among buyers kept the rebar market static in Northern Europe.

Discounted prices have failed to boost trading activity so far, market sources said.

“Customers are not in the market to buy,” one producer source said. “Instead, they just want to wait. Everyone is chasing volume, but no one wants to buy.”

While some market participants forecast further price drops, others believed that the price floor has been reached.

“I don’t forecast price increases,” one buyer source said. “However, I think the floor price has been reached.”

The low consumption has been largely a consequence of postponed or cancelled construction projects, especially in the private sector. No recovery was expected before the end of the year, sources said.

With so few transactions taking place, it has become more difficult to gauge the true market price, Fastmarkets heard.

“Demand remains very low and there is little buying activity,” one buyer source said. “This makes it very difficult to work out price levels. If no one is buying, working out tradeable values becomes impossible.”

If demand does not pick up but energy costs surge again, mills may cut output further, Fastmarkets heard.

International scrap prices affect the price of all long steel products. Scrap prices stabilized in mid-October.

Fastmarkets’ daily calculation of the index for steel scrap, HMS 1&2 (80:20 mix), North Europe origin, cfr Turkey, was $354.41 per tonne on November 2, up from $351.83 per tonne a week earlier.

Published by: India-Inés Levy