Northern European wire rod prices stable, increases expected

Northern European wire rod prices have remained stable this week amid a quiet market in Europe and subdued exports, sources say. Participants are however expecting increases in the next few weeks.

“Demand is still low, because the steel [drawing] mills have not started to restock for the moment,” one trader from the Netherlands tells Kallanish.

Domestic transaction prices for drawing-quality wire rod are at €640/tonne ($694/t) ex-works and mesh-grade wire rod is at €650/t.

Producers are asking for €660-670/t ex-works, on average, for mesh-quality rod.

“I hope that after scrap prices have started to increase in Europe, there will also be some movement in the wire rod market,” another buy-side participant notes. “We hope there will also be more rod imports from countries outside the EU, like Turkey and Algeria, which will influence the European trade.”

Offers are being heard from outside the EU at €600-610/t cfr Rotterdam, with very small tonnages being booked.

European scrap values have meanwhile increased so far this month due to new demand and export deals being concluded. German old thick scrap sort 3 is at €355/t, while new scrap sort 2/8 was at €345/t. E40 shredded scrap was at €370/t. In Austria, scrap prices have also increased by €15-20/t for most sorts. For new scrap, sort 2/8 is at €350/t, with old thick scrap sort 3 at €360/t.

Italian wire rod producers are expected to push up values by a further €20/t compared to mid-December due to high processing costs and increasing scrap prices (see Kallanish passim). Mills intend to increase prices to €700/t for February delivery, up from last month’s asking price of €670-680/t delivered for drawing-quality wire rod. Transactions are stable versus December at €670-680/t ex-works.

Svetoslav Abrossimov Bulgaria