Trading stable in Northern European rebar, wire rod market; mills raise prices

Market activity remained slow in the wire rod and rebar market in Northern Europe amid subdued demand levels.

Mills announced they were targeting price rises on rebar products in Northern Europe on Monday February 27. Targeted price rises were reported at €30-50 per tonne for rebar in Northern Europe.

Increasing scrap costs and expected improved demand in March have prompted producers to raise prices.

The market has not digested price increases, Fastmarkets heard, and the response has been low demand. It remains to be seen whether the market will eventually accept the rise in prices.

The market was not reported to be trading at these increased prices. Prices were also not reported to have changed since last week. As a result, prices remained unchanged in the Northern European longs market.

Fastmarkets’ weekly price assessment for steel reinforcing bar (rebar) domestic, delivered Northern Europe, was €710-730 ($754-775) per tonne on Wednesday, stable week-on-week.

Market activity remained slow in the Northern European rebar market in the week to March 1.

“The mills announced increases, but it isn’t clear whether these prices will be sustainable,” a buyer source said.

“What is clear is that prices are not going to drop any lower. Reduced imports because of Turkey being out of the market and non-competitive import prices means there is increased appetite for domestic stock. We are heading into the warmer months and March normally is a good month in terms of demand,” they added.

However, other market participants were less optimistic.

“Scrap prices are rising so we expect prices to start growing, and producers are united in saying they will raise prices,” a producer source said.

“However, I don’t see demand growing at this moment. The market is currently unchanged,” they added.

International scrap prices, which have been on the rise since December 2022, affect all long steel product prices, which have risen since mid-February.

“Scrap prices are increasing, and the wire rod producers are worried about how high they will go,” a producer source said.

“Customers are asking for rollovers of the same price of February. Whilst presently we are accepting orders at this level, we are going to increase prices based on rising scrap prices,” they added.

Fastmarkets’ daily calculation of the index for steel scrap HMS 1&2 (80:20 mix), North Europe origin, cfr Turkey was $445.00 per tonne on March 1, up from $436.12 per tonne last week.

Market fundamentals remained unchanged in the Northern wire rod market amid weak demand.

Fastmarkets’ weekly price assessment for steel wire rod (mesh quality), domestic, delivered Northern Europe, was €680-720 per tonne, down by €10 per tonne from €690-720 per tonne week on week.

Mills will either keep prices stable in March or target a small price increase, Fastmarkets heard.

Published by: India-Inés Levy

3 Mar 2023