Southern European steel longs prices stable; IREPAS outlook remains bleak

Market conditions were unchanged in the Southern European wire rod and rebar market in the week to Wednesday March 13 amid slow demand and pessimistic sentiment, sources told Fastmarkets.
As a result, rebar and wire rod prices were largely stable.

Fastmarkets price assessment for steel reinforcing bar (rebar) domestic, exw Italy was €625-645 ($684-705) per tonne on Wednesday, down by €5 per tonne week on week from €630-650 per tonne.

Minimal buying appetite and a bearish outlook resulted in weak trading in the Italian rebar market during the week, sources said.

“The minimum price is a little lower than last week, as the market is still flat,” a buyer source in Southern Europe said.

“Rebar seems to edge down every week as mills don’t seem to be able to sustain prices or increase them. And demand remains low as bad weather has slowed construction,” a second buyer source said.

“I would say prices are stable but with very limited volumes. We have had 10 days of almost constant rain, so many major construction sites are closed,” a producer source said.

“Scrap prices have not been lowering as quickly as expected, so I think producers will soon have to push for increases, hopefully aided by better weather and higher demand as construction projects related to Italy’s National Recovery and Resilience Plan try to catch up for lost time,” the producer source added.

Fastmarkets’ calculation of its daily index for steel scrap HMS 1&2 (80:20 mix) North Europe origin, cfr Turkey was $377.51 per tonne on Wednesday, up week on week from $373.83 per tonne.

And Fastmarkets’ price assessment for steel reinforcing bar (rebar) domestic, delivered Spain was €625-645 per tonne on Wednesday, down by €5 per tonne week on week from €630-650 per tonne.

Southern European wire rod
Fastmarkets’ price assessment for steel wire rod (mesh quality) domestic, delivered Southern Europe was €640-650 per tonne on Wednesday, narrowing downward by €5 per tonne week on week from €640-655 per tonne.

Weak consumption from the construction industry has continued to inhibit trading in the European long steel market, according to the short-term outlook published by the International Rebar Producers and Exporters Association (IREPAS) on March 5.

The outlook for future demand remained bleak.

“The current status of the market can be described as unstable in many markets or stable at a low level at best. The outlook, unfortunately, is slow and unsatisfactory,” the report said.

But lower raw materials prices could reduce cost pressure on mills, according to the IREPAS report.

“In Europe, the slow economy has reduced ferrous scrap flow and demand from the steel industry, which is struggling with poor order books. The only good news for steel mills nowadays could be that the raw material prices, both for iron ore and scrap, are going down. Also, lower activity means lower volumes, reducing supply pressure on the markets,” the report said.

Published by: India-Inés Levy