Weak fundamentals inhibit activity in Northern European rebar market [corrected]

Conditions remained unchanged in the Northern European rebar market in the week to Wednesday February 8, sources told Fastmarkets, with trading activity limited by a lack of demand from the construction sector – particularly from private housebuilders.
There was also significant uncertainty regarding the likely economic fallout from the devastating earthquakes in Turkey and the slow demand was putting downward pressure on rebar prices in Northern Europe.

Fastmarkets’ weekly price assessment for steel reinforcing bar (rebar), domestic, delivered Northern Europe, was €690-710 ($740-761) per tonne on Wednesday, down by €5-30 per tonne from €700-740 per tonne on February 1.

“There is very little to no activity,” one buyer source from the Netherlands said. “At this time of year, it is always slow, but not normally as bad as this. No one wants to buy.”

The construction industry remains slow, sources said, due to the worsening recession across Europe.

The depressed demand has resulted in a bearish sentiment, with buyers inclined to wait for clarity before restocking.

“[Rebar] prices remain unchanged because market conditions have not changed,” a producer source from Germany said.

“There is not a lot of demand and no one knows what the actual price level is,” the source added.

There was also minimal interest in imported stock, sources told Fastmarkets.

Most market participants said scrap prices would fall in the short term, following the weakening of domestic demand in Northern Europe, but would increase the medium term because domestic demand for scrap was likely to increase when rebuilding work begins in southeastern Turkey – where a series of deadly earthquakes have destroyed many buildings.

International scrap prices have a direct impact on the price of all long steel products and international scrap prices have been rising since December 2022.

Fastmarkets’ daily calculation of the index for steel scrap, HMS 1&2 (80:20 mix), North Europe origin, cfr Turkey, was $418.62 per tonne on February 8, from $418.36 per tonne last week.

(Fastmarkets’ index for steel reinforcing bar (rebar) domestic, delivered Northern Europe was erroneously listed as $695-710 per tonne when this report was originally published. This has been corrected to $695-710 per tonne.)

Published by: India-Inés Levy