Slow demand limits trading in Northern Europe long steel market

Activity in the Northern European rebar and wire rod markets was slow it the week to Wednesday July 5, amid ongoing weak consumption and bearish sentiment, sources told Fastmarkets.Fastmarkets’ weekly price assessment for steel reinforcing bar (rebar), domestic, delivered Northern Europe, was €600-610 ($652-663) per tonne on Wednesday, down by €10 per tonne from €600-620 per tonne.

Depressed market condition and an uncertain outlook continued to act as a drag on demand, sources said.

Mills have become resistant to any further price drops, however, opting instead to intensify production cuts through the summer months, they added.

While some market participants forecast prices will remain stable through Summer, others said they expect to see further price drops.

Overcapacity at cut and bending operations and the subsequent fierce undercutting of offer prices has dragged down prices in Northern Europe since the fourth quarter of 2022.

Mills cannot drop prices much further without reaching their cost line, sources said.

“Demand remains very weak and the only option mills have is to cut production,” a buyer source in the Netherlands said.

A trader source in Austria said: “Competition is fierce between the cut and benders. The combination of slow demand and the fierce undercutting by the cut and benders is largely responsible for rebar prices being pressured downward.”

But the market fundamentals remained unchanged in the rebar market.

Slow demand and a pessimistic outlook, meanwhile, continued to plague market activity in the Northern European wire rod market.

And Fastmarkets’ weekly price assessment for steel wire rod (mesh quality), domestic, delivered Northern Europe remained steady at €600-610 per tonne on Wednesday.

Published by: India-Inés Levy