Prices stable in Southern European long steel markets; but producers to seek rises

An uncertain outlook and weak demand has continued to inhibit trading in the Italian wire rod and rebar markets, Fastmarkets heard on Thursday July 6.Higher input costs and cuts to production were expected, so mills will continue to look for price rises, Fastmarkets was told. But it was not certain that these price rises would be accepted by the market, given the current weak demand.

Southern European rebar
Fastmarkets’ price assessment for steel reinforcing bar (rebar) domestic, exw Italy, was €670-685 ($729-745) per tonne on July 5, stable week-on-week.

Prices in the Italian rebar market were similarly stable, with mill offers reported at €685-690 per tonne ex-works. But stock was still being sold at lower prices of €670-685 per tonne ex-works, sources said.

With July order books in good shape and energy costs increasing, mills will try to achieve higher prices in the weeks ahead, Fastmarkets heard.

Output cuts across major mills could also reduce supply, putting upward pressure on prices.

“Rebar producers are trying to put up the price. Prices are currently €670 per tonne ex-works, but mills will now target €690 per tonne ex-works. Currently, customers don’t believe in such big increases, so they’re not buying, and are opting to wait and see,” a buyer source in Italy said.

“Producers are firm on price increases,” a trader source in Italy said, “despite the fact that the market remains flat. Mills say that costs are going up, and this is what is prompting the price increases.”

Production stoppages could also put upward pressure on prices, market sources said.

“All Italian producers have booked export tonnages for July delivery,” a producer source said. “Aside from this, all producers are going ahead with out-of-season production stoppages in June and July, as well as longer-than-usual stoppages in August.”

Meanwhile, prices in the Spanish rebar market remained steady, in line with the Italian market.

Fastmarkets’ price assessment for steel reinforcing bar (rebar), domestic, delivered Spain, was €660-685 per tonne on Wednesday, stable week on week.

Southern European wire rod
The corresponding price assessment for steel wire rod (mesh quality), domestic, delivered Southern Europe, was €580-590 per tonne on Wednesday, also stable week on week.

Prices continued to fluctuate in the Southern European wire rod market in the week to July 5, Fastmarkets heard.

Increasing input costs, such as the prices for gas and energy, coupled with the ending of government support measures, was likely to prompt mills to raise prices.

And market sources said that amended European Commission trade regulations will have a considerable effect on imports of wire rod stock from Egypt, India, Malaysia and Indonesia.

Published by: India-Inés Levy