Southern European long steel markets quiet amid summer closures

Prices remained stable in the markets for steel rebar and wire rod in Southern Europe in the week to Wednesday July 19, with mills preparing for seasonal summer closures, Fastmarkets has heard.

Production cuts will begin across the long steel markets in Italy and Spain when mills close for their typical six-week holidays. But prices were expected to remain largely stable for the duration of the summer, Fastmarkets heard.

Fastmarkets’ price assessment for steel reinforcing bar (rebar), domestic, exw Italy, was €670-685 ($751-768) per tonne on Wednesday, stable for three weeks.

Activity remained relatively quiet in the country’s rebar market. Customers were restocking in small tonnages before mills closed for the summer.

Mills have been looking to achieve price rises to €685-700 per tonne ex-works recently. Sale prices, however, have remained around €670-685 per tonne ex-works, and were expected to be steady until mid-August, when the mills reopen.

“The market is flat. Construction sites are ordering steel in anticipation of the summer closures, but this is typical every year,” a trader source in the region said.

“Prices have not changed since the beginning of July,” another buyer source said.

Mills were reported to have good order books for July and August because of increased consumption by the export market.

“Export prices are the same as last week. But, to be honest, Italian producers are not so interested in booking new tonnages for export, because we all have orders to load between July and August,” a producer source said. “We are all reducing output from the usual summer levels.”

Meanwhile, prices in the Spanish rebar market were stable.

Fastmarkets’ price assessment for steel reinforcing bar (rebar), domestic, delivered Spain, was €640-650 per tonne on July 19, stable week-on-week.

Mills in the Spanish market intend to prolong their seasonal closures to reduce supply and rebalance the market, given the current depressed demand, Fastmarkets heard.

Southern European wire rod
Fastmarkets’ price assessment for steel wire rod (mesh quality), domestic, delivered Southern Europe, was €590-610 per tonne on Wednesday, also stable week on week.

In mid-July, wire rod prices rose in the Italian market when demand improved slightly, with buyers restocking before the summer closures. But Fastmarkets heard that demand has remained flat this week.

Published by: India-Inés Levy