Domestic prices for mesh-quality steel wire rod in the south of Europe were broadly unchanged in the week to Wednesday July 29, while in the north of the region producers managed to achieve some upticks, supported by good buying and a lack of competitive import offers, sources told Fastmarkets.
***Southern Europe wire rod
In the south of Europe, trading activity was slower this week because the market was entering its usual summer holiday slowdown, sources said.
“The ‘dead season’ will start in August,” one added.
***Price assessment for steel wire rod
Fastmarkets’ weekly price assessment for steel wire rod (mesh-quality), domestic, delivered Southern Europe, was €۴۲۵-۴۴۰ ($۴۹۸-۵۱۶) per tonne on July 29, stable week on week.
The assessment was based on deals and offers heard in the market.
In Italy, a “workable” price for mesh-quality wire rod was estimated by local buyers to be €۴۳۰-۴۴۰ per tonne delivered, the same as last week.
Some producers were targeting a higher price of €۴۵۰ per tonne delivered, but buyers reported no deals at this level.
“Prices are stable – no change. Italian mills are trying to close orders for September at €۱۰-۲۰ per tonne more, but have had no success,” one trader said.
Major steel producers in Italy were preparing to stop operations during the second week of August for their usual summer maintenance.
***Rebar and wire rod producer
But according to several sources, Pittini will not be stopping operations completely at its Ferriere Nord plant in Ossopo. The company will instead be working a three-day week between August 10 and August 16.
Alfa Acciai, the country’s major rebar and wire rod producer, will be stopping production at its plants in Brescia and Catania from August 8 until August 25, sources said.
Feralpi Siderurgica, another big rebar and wire rod producer, located in Lonato, will be stopping operations from August 10 until August 16.
“These days indicate complete closure of the company – offices, gates, everything – but generally the stoppage to production might last longer,” a second trading source said.
Meanwhile, the Spanish wire rod market has also entered its summer lull, with trading activity slowing down and prices flat, sources said.
In Spain, mesh-quality wire rod was trading at €۴۲۵-۴۳۰ per tonne delivered in the week to July 29, although the price targeted by producers was €۴۴۰ per tonne delivered, sources said.
They expected wire rod prices in Spain to remain flat in the next few weeks.
“Prices will be stable in August,” a third trader said. “There is no space for decreases because the scrap price is stable, and no space for increases as long as the market remains weak.”
***Northern Europe wire rod
In the north of Europe, demand for wire rod continued to be good during the assessment week, sources said.
Fastmarkets’ weekly price assessment for steel wire rod (mesh-quality), domestic, delivered Northern Europe, was €۴۳۰-۴۵۰ per tonne on July 29, up from €۴۲۰-۴۴۰ per tonne last week.
“We have good order books for August,” one mill source said.
“ArcelorMittal is selling [mesh-quality] wire rod at €۴۵۰ per tonne [delivered],” one trader said. “It does not get much volume at that price but they are okay with it.”
Market participants expected that wire rod prices would roll over in August on seasonal factors, but in September another price increase was possible.
“Demand from construction is supporting the [wire rod] prices,” a trading source said. “Besides, we do not see many competitive offers from overseas suppliers, so the EU mills are well-positioned.”
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