Egypt rebar consumption up by almost 50%, sparking fears of potential shortages in months ahead

Rebar consumption in Egypt was up by almost 50% month on month in November due to a resurgence in restocking activity and after the easing of building restrictions led to a slight uptick in demand.

Egypt consumed 689,000 tonnes of rebar in November 2020, up by 44.14% compared with the 478,000 tonnes of rebar consumed in October, according to Ramy Saleh, chief business development officer at El Marakby Steel.

November consumption was high because of increasing prices and restocking buying activity, Saleh said. However, year-on-year rebar consumption in November was down by 14.72% compared with the 808,000 tonnes consumed in November 2019.

Rebar stocks at mills are getting low, he said, and if end-user demand continues to improve, together with the cash cycle, there could be shortage of material in the country.

With end-user demand constrained by the construction ban, most bookings in November were for restocking by traders and distributors.

Demand for rebar and steel billet has been slow since the imposition of a ban on construction on May 25. And while the rules of the ban were eased on September 29, demand has not yet fully recovered because of the remaining restrictions on construction activity.

In the meantime, Egyptian rebar producers have so far increased their prices four times in December because of increasing production costs caused by higher raw materials prices.

Producers are now offering rebar at E£12,450-12,465 ($790-791) per tonne ex-works including 14% VAT, rising from E£11,450-11,600 per tonne including VAT previously.

Fastmarkets publishes domestic rebar prices on a weekly basis on Thursdays and the weekly price assessment for steel reinforcing bar (rebar), domestic, exw Egypt was E£11,450-11,600 per tonne on December 10, rising from E£10,950-11,100 per tonne on December 3.