Price drop expectation curbs Italian merchant bar demand

Prices for Italian merchant bar have remained relatively stable so far this month compared to August, but limited activity and sluggish demand suggests a possible impending price decline, Kallanish learns from sellers and buyers.

Over the past week some purchases were implemented for low tonnages. Due to the significant domestic scrap price decline, service centres are beginning to adopt a wait-and-see attitude, lamenting low sales to end-users. Some are already applying a €10-15/tonne ($11-17) price decline compared to August and believe domestic values will fall by some €20/t in the comping days.

Domestic merchant bar transactions in recent days have been agreed at €460-490/t base ex-works, although the high point of the range is only achieved for small orders and is forecast to disappear. Including size extras, values are hovering at €880-910/t ex-works, sources suggest.

Import offers from Spanish producers are aligned with domestic steelmakers’ levels as export sales remain strong for both Italian and Spanish suppliers, particularly to Eastern European buyers. By the end of next week, Italian sellers expect some demand to come back as buyers will need to restock.

Meanwhile, Italian domestic scrap prices are falling between €20-50/t compared to the high levels seen at the beginning of August (see Kallanish 3 September).

Natalia Capra France