Southern Europe rebar, wire prices steady; mills plan extended output cuts in long products to rebalance market

The rebar and wire rod markets in Southern Europe have been stable over the past week despite efforts – including planned production stoppages – by mills to boost prices.

Mills will start to suspend some operations during the summer months in an attempt to cut production costs and rebalance supply-demand dynamics, market sources said.

Fastmarkets’ price assessment for steel reinforcing bar (rebar) domestic, exw Italy was unchanged from last week at €670-685 ($749-765) per tonne on Wednesday.

Trading activity remained slow in the Italian rebar market where customers are opting only to restock in small volumes, sources said.

Although mills targeted prices of €685-700 per tonne exw, buyer estimates held at €670-685 per tonne exw, sources said.

Unpredictable energy costs and stable scrap costs have created resistance to a fall in prices while it remains to be seen whether the market will accept the mill’s attempts to raise prices.

Robust order books for July and August and improved exports could pressure prices upwards, sources suggested.

“Prices have risen as producers push for increases following further production cuts and significant tonnage exported for July-August delivery,” a producer source in the region said.

“Rebar prices are officially at €670 per tonne exw for new offers; however, deliveries are still taking place at lower levels,” a buyer source in the region said. “Demand is not so bad but it’s day by day – there’s not a run to buy… and no one is interested in buying big quantities.”

Prices in the Spanish rebar market dropped amid weak trading activity and a bearish outlook.

Fastmarkets’ price assessment for steel reinforcing bar (rebar), domestic, delivered, Spain was €640-650 per tonne on Wednesday, down by €20-35 from €660-685 per tonne last week.

Spanish mills will look to extend their summer closures by at least a week to rebalance the market, sources told Fastmarkets.

“Mills are attempting to raise prices but demand is not enough to support these price rises,” a producer source from Spain said.

Southern European wire rod
Fastmarkets’  assessment for steel wire rod (mesh quality), domestic, delivered Southern Europe was €590-610 per tonne on Wednesday, up by €10-20 from €580-590 since last week.

Prices rose in the Italian wire rod market because of mills targeting small price rises before summer stoppages. Demand has slightly improved because of buyers restocking in small volumes, Fastmarkets heard.

“Demand has stabilized at higher levels,” a producer source said. “We are targeting €590 per tonne exw at the moment.”

“A major integrated mill in the region has announced price rises of €30 per tonne exw but prices have not been accepted by the market yet,” a buyer source said.

Mills will shut down until mid-August at the earliest, with some mills planning extended output cuts, sources said.

Published by: India-Inés Levy