Southern European long steel producers withdraw offers amid rising input costs, weak demand

Rising energy and raw materials costs, along with an ongoing lack of demand, have resulted in reduced output and the withdrawal of offers by long steel producers in Southern Europe, sources told Fastmarkets in the week to Wednesday October 18.

But they expect mills in Italy to soon return to the market with higher offers.

Production cuts were considered the most viable current option given current demand levels, sources said.

Fastmarkets’ weekly price assessment for steel reinforcing bar (rebar) domestic, exw Italy, was €575-620 ($607-655) per tonne on Wednesday, stable week on week.

“Producers have stopped [all] sales and are considering increasing prices based on their new production costs,” a buyer source in Italy said. “Energy and gas are more expensive, [while the price of] scrap is stable at a high level, so producers are considering setting the new rebar price at about €630 per tonnes.”

A second buyer source told Fastmarkets that mills had stopped selling and suspended their offers.

“We are now waiting for new prices from the mills. Maybe they will go up bu €30-50 per tonne, due to increasing energy cost,” the source said.

A trader source said: “It is difficult to establish a price for today, because the steel mills have closed sales since last Monday. There is a stalemate between buyers and sellers.”

Fastmarkets’ weekly price assessment for steel reinforcing bar (rebar), domestic, delivered, Spain, was also unchanged week on week at €590-615 per tonne on Wednesday.

Wire rod prices in Southern Europe also remained stable amid weak demand and the stand-off between mills and buyers.

Fastmarkets’ price assessment for steel wire rod (mesh quality), domestic, delivered Southern Europe, was €570-590 per tonne on Wednesday stable week on week.

Just like rebar, weak demand and high input costs have resulted in a stalemate in the wire rod market.

“We are in a place of extreme crisis,” a producer source told Fastmarkets. “Wire rod buyers are crushed between very low market demand and the impossibility of being able to import new material from abroad.

“[The European import] quotas have already been filled and the European steel mills have cut production because it is not convenient from an economic point of view to [carry on as they were],” the source added.

Published by: India-Inés Levy