Domestic steel rebar in Europe were largely rangebound in the week to Wednesday October 7, with market participants saying they believe prices have reached a top in both the north and south of the region.
*** Northern Europe
Fastmarkets’ weekly price assessment for rebar in Europe , domestic, delivered Northern Europe was €۴۷۰-۴۸۰ ($۵۵۳-۵۶۵) per tonne on Wednesday, widening downward from €۴۷۵-۴۸۰ per tonne last week.
Demand was still good in most Northern countries, driven by a strong construction sector. But market participants said they have noticed demand is flattening out and they do not expect consumption to increase. Moreover, sources said demand for new construction permits is reportedly declining especially in residential and non-residential sub-sectors because of market volatility and fears of a second wave of Covid-19 infections.
“Generally, order intake is good, but my feeling is that prices have touched a ceiling and there will be rollover for November-December [prices], or even a slight decrease, depending on scrap [costs],” a trader said.
The recent drop in international steel scrap prices also casts doubts on further downstream rebar price increases.
The steel scrap HMS 1&2 (80:20 mix) North Europe origin, cfr Turkey stood at $283.19 per tonne on the first three days of this week, having fallen from $292.57 per tonne on September 30.
As well, European cut-and-bend companies were said to be reluctant to accept higher rebar prices because they took in too many orders at low prices earlier this year after expecting prices to fall, sources said.
*** Southern Europe
Fastmarkets’ weekly price assessment for steel reinforcing bar (rebar), domestic, delivered Southern Europe was at €۴۵۰-۴۶۰ per tonne on October 7, widening upward by €۵ per tonne from €۴۵۰-۴۵۵ per tonne on September 30.
This week, rebar in Italy was trading at €۴۱۰-۴۲۰ per tonne ex-works, the same as last week. This is equivalent to about €۴۵۰-۴۶۰ per tonne delivered.
Sources said demand has slowed down in Italy, particularly in the northwestern part of country due to bad weather conditions.
“Last weekend there was a hurricane in northwestern Italy and there was a lot of damage. Maybe next week’s buying will be better, especially considering the work needed to restore bridges and roads,” a South Europe trader said.
Market participants told Fastmarkets they did not expect any significant price changes in the near term.
“We think that rebar price has reached the top, but it’s too early to understand if it will start to decrease or will remain stable; we hope for a reprise of demand and price stability,” a second regional trader said.
In the meantime, demand for rebar in the Spanish market has reportedly picked up this week due to restocking activity. Rebar in the country was heard to be trading at €۴۵۰-۴۵۵ per tonne delivered, widening from €۴۵۰ per tonne delivered over the past seven days, sources said.
“Consumption is slightly improved although we are nearing winter, when demand usually drops, so [consumption growth] is not a long-term thing,” a third trader in Southern Europe said.
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