Rebar transaction values increased by approximately €10 per tonne in southern Europe in August, with the UK experiencing a similar move, as prices rose moderately. Selling figures are expected to move upwards in the post-holiday period. Demand from the construction sector is relatively healthy.
In Italy, rebar producers managed to secure a modest price advance ahead of the holidays, as buyers restocked. Nonetheless, tight profit margins remain extremely challenging for producers. In Spain, a reduction in supply and an improvement in demand boosted prices.
In contrast, prices were unchanged in northern Europe. Most German rebar sellers remain busy supplying existing projects, but a lack of new schemes is noted. This complaint is echoed in other markets. Despite expectations of increased mill basis values, rebar processors are facing pressure from end-users to reduce their prices for downstream products. French distributors continue to report reasonable business levels and basis values are stable, but mills are likely to push for rises quite soon.
Belgian traders are finding import opportunities limited, because of the exhaustion of the safeguard quota for Turkish and Russian material, but activity in the construction sector is quite good.
Structural longs exhibit mixed trend
A mixed price trend was recorded in the market for medium sections and beams, in Western European. Beam producers across the region are expected to implement increased transaction values, in the near term, as a result of rising raw material expenditure.
Italian steelmakers were forced to concede marginal discounts before the summer holidays commenced because market demand is subdued.
The UK beam market has turned a corner and mills achieved a proportion of their proposed hike. Spanish exporters are not offering to UK buyers, at present, after securing a modest advance in their own domestic prices.
In Germany, upward pressure on selling figures is already detected and French distributors reported reasonable activity before the seasonal slowdown. Mills are anticipating that they will secure their proposed advance when business picks up, after the vacation period. Current slow trading, in Belgium, should also recover.
Meanwhile, merchant bar remains the weakest performer in the long products segment and prices are under negative pressure in several Western European countries.
Source: MEPS International Ltd.