Italian mills cut rebar prices again

Italian longs producers cut prices this week, amid the weak construction season and tepid global market recovery.

Argus‘ weekly Italian rebar assessments declined by €15/t to €575/t ex-works, while the drawing-quality wire rod index softened by €10/t, to €650/t delivered.

Italian producers dropped rebar prices to €580/t ex-works, including extras for sizes, with levels of €560-570/t ex-works available for larger orders, probably in attempts to spur buying interest ahead of the Easter holiday. Demand remains low as customers still doubt prices have reached the bottom, market participants said.

Indications for Italian drawing quality wire rod stood in a wide range of €640-670/t delivered locally and to nearby markets depending on tonnages, but producers were yet to start offering April material. In Spain offers were €10/t below these levels last week, but given high pressure from imports it was possible to obtain lower prices for sizable tonnages in Italy and Spain. Workable levels for high-carbon wire rod remained at €750-780/t delivered in Italy late last week.

Offers to nearby markets were scarce as some mills closed their March order books and were about to start their April campaign next week. But indications for rebar were pegged at €585-590/t ex-works, although given lower local prices discounts were deemed available. Despite a slow recovery seen in the construction sector across Europe, Italian mills were mainly focused on the central region while they faced high competition with Turkish suppliers in the southern countries.

Although inflation rates fell below 3pc, it was unclear if interest rates might decrease, but any cut would only be slight, a German market participant said. Construction activity is not expected to improve substantially, with fabricators maintaining cut and rebar prices in the range of €650-690/t delivered in Germany. Rebar prices from Germany mills were indicated at €640-650/t delivered for smaller tonnages and at least €630-640/t delivered lower for larger lots, with €620/t delivered available in some cases. Some German buyers were still receiving tonnages booked late last year for the first quarter as they had to postpone these deliveries after slower than expected construction demand.

In Poland rebar prices fell to €650/t delivered and below locally, with €630/t delivered available to nearby markets last week.

Offers of Bulgarian rebar lowered to 1,215-1,230 lev/t (€621-629/t) delivered last week under pressure from cheaper imports.

Some European buyers have resumed purchases of rebar and wire rod from overseas suppliers in recent weeks, suggesting prices may be close to reaching a floor. Sales were reported mainly from Turkey to Balkan markets at $580-595/t for small lots of rebar, with latest bookings heard to Serbia and Albania last week. “In Serbia no-one wants to buy a kilogram, as they are scared of further price drops,” a buyer said. Drawing quality wire rod was also heard booked from Turkey mainly to Spain at €590/t cfr or slightly below for late March-early April shipment in the past two weeks, with this quarter’s quota filled and it is estimated that Turkish allocation for the next quota period will be exhausted promptly in the first few days of next month.

Egyptian mills were offering rebar at $580-590/t fob and were said to be focusing on other markets, such as the Americas. There was talk that GCC rebar might have been imported to Europe recently, probably because of a prolonged downturn in Asia and other markets, but no details have emerged.

Argus Media

Seasonal slowdown keeps Polish rebar prices flat; market hoping for demand rebound in September

Steel rebar prices in Poland were broadly stable in the week to August 4 amid very weak demand, but market participants are hopeful of a boost from a rebound in construction activity from September, sources told Fastmarkets.

Rebar offers from three local producers were broadly stable week on week at 2,660-2,680 zloty ($653-658) per tonne CPT (about 2,630-2,650 zloty per tonne EXW).

Transactions were scarce, however, with tradable values reported at 2,600-2,650 zloty per tonne ex-works, depending on the tonnage. Mills in the region were able to offer rebar from stock with quick shipment, market sources said.

Sources said they expect rebar prices to stabilize in the coming weeks and were cautiously optimistic about a pick-up of construction activity in the residential sub-sector in September.

“Demand is still weak, partially due to the vacation season, but also because construction activity is still very slow. The only hope is that new construction projects will start from September and boost demand for rebar,” a trader in Poland said, with the Polish government launching a support program for the nation’s “first home buyers,” offering housing loans with a fixed 2% interest rate over 10 years, with the difference to the actual interest rate covered by the state.

That program, available for young people only for their first house or apartment purchase, is supposed to stimulate residential construction, sources said.

“Right now there are so many applications… for this kind of mortgage, the banks cannot cope, a second trader source said.

“In the past six months or so, there have been very few residential projects in Poland, so soon there could be a shortage of apartments,” the trader added.

Fastmarkets’ weekly price assessment for steel reinforcing bar (rebar), domestic, exw Poland, was 2,600-2,650 zloty per tonne on Friday, stable week on week.

In the secondary market, rebar prices were reported at 2,750 zloty per tonne CPT, also stable week on week.

Imported rebar offers to Poland were scarce due to the seasonal summer slowdown.

A Ukrainian supplier was offering rebar for September delivery, however, at €570 ($623) per tonne DAP border (about €600 per tonne CPT).

And Moldovan rebar was on offer in Poland at €610 per tonne CPT.

Published by: Julia Bolotova


French rebar buyers remain on fence

French rebar activity continues to be sluggish, with no market visibility. Prices are however stable, with sources indicating a slight, €10/tonne ($11) hike compared to mid-July.

The market is now on holiday, and very little is forecast to happen until the end of August. However, stocks at distributors and their clients are low, with distributors reporting empty order books. Sales are taking place from day to day, with no longer-term prospects. Customers and construction companies will adopt a wait-and-see attitude in September and will continue to buy only to cover immediate needs each day.

One seller says he has no orders for September and revenue in July was accumulated from day-to-day sales. Despite the difficulty of working without plans and visibility, and there being limited restocking, the month of July was considered “acceptable”, Kallanish notes.

Some orders for infrastructure projects improved producers’ sales in July but the remaining orders were for small volumes. Domestic rebar prices are hovering at €590-620/t delivered including size extras, depending on tonnage, sources suggest.

Natalia Capra France