Southern European rebar market accepts early-May price rises; wire rod prices edge down

Rebar prices remained steady in Italy and Spain in the week to Wednesday May 22, after customers accepted the higher prices targeted by mills in early-to-mid May, sources told Fastmarkets.

Wire rod prices, meanwhile, edged down amid subdued demand.

Fastmarkets’ weekly price assessment for steel reinforcing bar (rebar) domestic, exw Italy was unchanged at €640-650 ($693-704) per tonne on Wednesday after rising in the week to May 15.

A recognition of higher input costs was the main reason for customers accepting the higher prices targeted by mills earlier in the month, Fastmarkets understands.

But while prices remained steady, some market participants said they expect to see further price rises.

“[Last] week’s price increases have been consolidated, but with their order books in good shape, all producers now have low stocks of scrap and billet so I can see further production stoppages before the end of the month, which means that, in the next few days, domestic producers will increase [their offer] prices once again for June deliveries,” a producer source said.

And despite the consolidation of higher prices, demand remained subdued.

“Demand is not so good as there has been bad weather in northern Italy which is slowing the market,” a buyer source said.

Fastmarkets’ price assessment for steel reinforcing bar (rebar), domestic, delivered, Spain was also steady at €625-645 per tonne on Wednesday after edging higher in the week to May 15.

Rebar export prices, meanwhile, edged higher in Southern Europe, with offers heard at €590-600 per tonne in the week to Wednesday.

Southern European wire rod
Fastmarkets’ price assessment for steel wire rod (mesh quality), domestic, delivered Southern Europe, was €625-635 per tonne on Wednesday down by €15 per tonne from €640-650 per tonne on May 15.

Projected increases in scrap costs meant mill sources were forecasting price rises in June, Fastmarkets understands.

After edging higher earlier in May, international scrap prices recently began to fall, but some market participants expect to see further scrap price rises in June.

Fastmarkets’ calculation of its daily index for steel scrap HMS 1&2 (80:20 mix) North Europe origin, cfr Turkey, was $373.56 per tonne on Wednesday, down from $380.93 per tonne week on week.

“We have detected an upward trend for scrap in June of at least €10 per tonne, but it could be even more on pure fresh scrap categories,” a producer source told Fastmarkets. “That increase cannot be ignored by the mills [because they] do not have the margin, with current prices, to absorb the higher [raw] materials costs.”

Published by: India-Inés Levy