Tubemakers in Italy seek increases

Italian re-rollers are pushing up tube prices, in line with increasing values of hot rolled coil in Europe. Welded tube values continue to lag behind the acceleration of HRC price hikes, sources in the market tell Kallanish.

In Italy, sources are reporting a lack of import offers for HRC and long lead times from European producers. One steelmaker in Italy is quoting June and July delivery, while others are closing May order books.

Tube discounts are continuing to decrease but at a slow pace. In Italy, they are now beginning to reach 25 points with some clients still paying 26-28 points. Each point of discount is equal to €12-13/tonne ($12.6-13.7), depending on product. Tube makers intend to consolidate the level of 25 and continue to recover two or three points per week. By the end of March, they are targeting 20 points of discount in Europe.

A source reports some more interest from buyers and better demand for welded tube, but also some shortages because of supply chain issues and long HRC lead times. The distribution sector is also expected to come back to purchasing after the slow tube buying of the past weeks, which should cause some apparent demand to resurface. With the current price of HRC at €800-820/t base ex-works, basic welded tube grade 40x40x3 should cost over €1,000/t ex-works.

A large service centre reports some improved sales volumes from the automotive industry, while the appliance sector’s downturn continues. Tube discounts in Italy reached 36 points in December, Kallanish notes.

Natalia Capra France