Southern European long steel prices stay elevated on continuing bullish sentiment

High input costs, improving sentiment and constrained supplies have resulted in rising wire rod prices in Italy in the week to Wednesday January 10, sources told Fastmarkets.

All through November and December 2023, rising feedstock costs and small-tonnage restocking resulted in significant rebar price increases in the Italian market, but since then, they have remained largely steady, sources said, with the market only just starting to really wake up after the Christmas and New Year holidays.

Despite sluggish activity activity in the local long steel market following the Christmas closures, mill sources said they were growing more bullish about an impending upturn in demand in the coming weeks.

But demand for rebar was still slow in the week to November 10, sources said, because only a small proportion of market participants had so far returned and Fastmarkets price assessment for steel reinforcing bar (rebar) domestic, exw Italy therefore remained unchanged at €680-690 ($744-755) per tonne on Wednesday.

“This week, there [have been] very few sales, so prices are unchanged from the beginning of January – the real market starts next week,” a trader source told Fastmarkets.

But a producer source said: “Prices keep rising and the market seems very bright even in these first days [after the] winter holidays.

“Producers have all lengthened their winter production stoppages and this is creating problems for clients because key diameters are missing from the market, which is fueling speculative buying,” the source added.

In the Spanish rebar market, meanwhile, prices were mostly static, leaving Fastmarkets’ price assessment for steel reinforcing bar (rebar), domestic, delivered, Spain unchanged at €665-670 per tonne.

Southern European wire rod

Fastmarkets’ price assessment for steel wire rod (mesh quality), domestic, delivered Southern Europe, was €640-660 per tonne on Wednesday stable week-on-week.

Market participants told Fastmarkets they remained bullish about further upward price pressure in the wire rod market amid reduced stocks and high feedstock costs.

“We filled our order books from the end of December,” a wire rod producer source said, “meaning that, for January, there is no big pressure to catch new orders.

“Imports from Egypt and Turkey are expensive at the moment with offers coming in at €610 per tonne to Italian ports,  so there is not much appetite for imports at the moment,” the producer source added.

Even so, a trader source told Fastmarkets: “Sentiment is improving across Europe in the wire rod market [and] prices have been rising gradually since early-December – [so] we forecast further price rises.”

Published by: India-Inés Levy