Northwest European rebar remains soft

The northwestern European rebar market remains sluggish in July and is seen continuing in this fashion into August. The price downtrend has slowed down, and values could bottom, but a recovery is very unlikely for a while.

Late in June, base prices from German mills were largely seen at around €350/tonne ($385), with some lower quotes reported from minor players. This has now seeped through to the major players. “We are easily €20 below that now,” one big buyer tells Kallanish. “Including the size extra, you will get one tonne for €590.”

He is not astonished that particularly low prices are being offered to smaller players as well, in some cases before they land on the tables of the bigger ones. “Big or small does not matter these days. The market is a small cake and mills are vying to obtain a slice for themselves,” the buyer says.

A manager at another big distribution company explains that mills’ sales staff are facing a paralysed market, while purchasing staff are being troubled by relatively stable scrap prices. “In the past weeks, international scrap prices did not fall as much as prices for the finished product,” he observes. In fact, while demolition scrap sort E3 has fallen by some €70/t since April, the drop in rebar values has been twice that, thus painfully crimping mills’ margins.

Christian Koehl Germany