Recovery unlikely for remainder of year in Italian, Spanish rebar markets

Subdued demand and a depressed outlook continued to inhibit activity in the Southern European rebar market in the week to November 23, with little expectation of any change before 2023, sources told Fastmarkets.Italy
Slow consumption and persistent overstocking by buyers has resulted in weak market conditions in the Italian rebar market, sources told Fastmarkets this week.

Fastmarkets price assessment for steel reinforcing bar (rebar) domestic, exw Italy was €810 – 860 ($838-890) per tonne on Wednesday up by €25-35 per tonne from €775-835 per tonne on November 16.

The price floor has been reached, sources said, and with energy costs rising toward the end of the fourth quarter, mills cannot drop prices any further without reaching their cost lines.

The added that discerning tradable price levels has become difficult due to the fact so few trades are occurring and demand is very depressed.

“The demand is very, very low,” a buyer source in Italy told Fastmarkets.

Another trader source said: “Buying is [limited] and customers don’t believe in new [price] increases. The economic indicators are not so good and so the sentiment for the future is not optimistic. We expect low demand for December and for the first quarter of 2023.”

Mills could cut production earlier than usual over the winter holiday period to manage the supply-demand balance, Fastmarkets understands.

“Producers are already starting to announce longer production stoppages for the Christmas period,” a buyer source said.

But customers are not buying regardless of price levels due to weak end-user consumption and it remains to be seen when, and to what extent, demand levels will recover, sources told Fastmarkets.

Slow demand and a pessimistic attitude among buyers resulted in few trades taking place in the Spanish rebar market, sources told Fastmarkets this week.

And the lack of consumption led most market participants to the view that a price floor has been reached.

“Prices are likely to be very close to the bottom because the energy market is so volatile,” a trader source in the region said. “New energy price hikes are likely and that is making mills cautious.”

Fastmarkets’ price assessment for steel reinforcing bar (rebar), domestic, delivered, Spain was €730–760 per tonne on Wednesday down by €45-75 per tonne from €775-835 per tonne last week.

International scrap prices affect the price of all long steel products and have remained relatively stable through October and early November.

Fastmarkets’ calculation of its daily index for steel scrap, HMS 1&2 (80:20 mix), North Europe origin, cfr Turkey, was $344.65 per tonne on November 23, up from $338.71 per tonne last week.

Published by: India-Inés Levy