Southern European rebar prices edge up amid high input costs; wire rod market stable, increases forecast

High input costs and slightly improved demand resulted in rebar prices in Italy and Spain edging upward in the week to Wednesday May 29, sources have told Fastmarkets.
Sources added that they expected mills to increase their offer prices further by the end of May.

Fastmarkets’ weekly price assessment for steel reinforcing bar (rebar) domestic, exw Italy, was €650-660 ($704-715) per tonne on Wednesday, up by €10 per tonne from €640-650 per tonne on May 22.

High scrap costs and a lack of availability of domestic scrap resulted in the Italian market accepting higher offers, with further increased offers expected in the coming days, according to sources.

Some producer sources expect further price rises of €20-30 per tonne by the beginning of June, but whether the market will accept these increases remains uncertain.

“On May 28 producers targeted higher prices due the higher price of scrap and the difficulty of finding scrap,” a trader said.

“[The] lack of scrap has reached tragic levels, and we are all working hand to mouth with a non-existent billet stock,” a producer source said.

While some sources reported improved demand, other sources reported ongoing weak demand amid unfavorable weather conditions in Northern Italy.

“Local demand is strong, and we have cleaned our order book at previous lower prices. Given that all producers have been selling at a loss since March 2024, I am confident that this latest increase will be accepted by the market,” the producer source said.

“Rebar price is higher for new offers, and mills are announcing new price increases at the beginning of June. However, demand is not so strong these days, customers are a little disoriented, and bad weather in Northern Italy is slowing building activities,” a second trader said.

Meanwhile, international scrap prices remained largely stable week on week.

Fastmarkets’ calculation of its daily index for steel scrap HMS 1&2 (80:20 mix) North Europe origin, cfr Turkey, was $375.16 per tonne on Wednesday, up by $1.60 per tonne from $373.56 per tonne on May 22.

Fastmarkets’ weekly price assessment for steel reinforcing bar (rebar), domestic, delivered, Spain, was €635-655 per tonne on Wednesday, up by €10 per tonne from €625-645 per tonne on May 22.

Southern European wire rod
Fastmarkets’ weekly price assessment for steel wire rod (mesh quality), domestic, delivered Southern Europe, was €625-635 per tonne on Wednesday, unchanged from May 22.

A lack of availability of scrap and relatively weak demand resulted in wire rod producers attempting to reduce production, in turn lowering their requirements for scrap.

“The scrap market in Italy was asking steel mills for an increase in scrap prices of around €20 per tonne for June. Steel mills have tried to counteract this increase through production stoppages and differentiating raw material purchases,” a wire rod producer source said.

“These actions were taken because the final product (wire rod/bars/mesh) today does not allow such a significant price increase to be reflected on the market,” the source added.

Lower scrap costs of only a €5-10 per tonne increase have been negotiated, compared to what would have previously been €20 per tonne, sources said.

With energy costs having increased by approximately €5 per tonne, wire rod producers will likely increase offers by a €10 per tonne, Fastmarkets has heard.

Published by: India-Inés Levy