EUROPE LONG STEEL WRAP: Prices continue to rally in August amid limited supplies

Finished long steel prices in Europe have continued to go up through August, supported by reduced supplies during the summer holidays, as well as by costlier raw materials.

Domestic rebar prices have increased during August by €60 ($72) per tonne in Northern Europe and by €55-70 in Southern Europe, while export prices have risen by €45-50 per tonne. Wire rod prices across the EU have gone up by €25-30 per tonne over the month.

The uptrend was widely expected to persist in September. Trading activity will also revive next month as market participants will all be back at work after their summer holidays.

Most Italian mills were idled for 2-3 weeks in August for scheduled maintenance.

Ferrous scrap prices in August increased by €5-10 per tonne month-on-month in Italy, and by €10-20 per tonne in Germany.

Metal Bulletin’s index for Northern European HMS 1&2 (80:20) scrap closed the day at $347.05 per tonne cfr Turkey on August 30, up by almost $30 compared with $317.37 per tonne cfr Turkey on August 1.

Prices for electrodes have jumped from $2,000 per tonne last year to more than $10,000 per tonne in 2017, according to the International Rebar Exporters & Producers Assn (Irepas), adding to the increasing production costs for steelmakers which use electric arc furnaces (EAFs).

Rising costs, coupled with reduced supply during the summer and firm demand across the EU, gave producers the confidence to push rebar and wire rod prices upward.

ArcelorMittal’s European division has increased prices by €20 per tonne on all its long steel products for new September bookings, amid surging raw materials costs and rising consumption, according to a document seen by Metal Bulletin on August 25.

“Demand [for finished long steel products] in the EU is very good compared with previous years,” Irepas said on August 31, adding that “limited import possibilities” also contributed to the domestic price rises.

Metal Bulletin’s domestic price assessment for rebar in Northern Europe was €525-545 per tonne delivered on August 30, narrowing upward from €520-545 per tonne delivered a week earlier. Prices are expected to increase in the coming few weeks.

The assessment of the rebar price in the Southern European domestic market was €505-530 per tonne delivered on August 30, up by €10 per tonne week-on-week from €495-520 per tonne delivered. The Italian market expected to be fully back to work by September 4, according to market participants.

On the export side, Algeria-bound trading activity has remained subdued so far, due to the Islamic religious holiday of Eid al-Adha from August 31 to September 4.

Metal Bulletin’s export price assessment for Southern European rebar was €480-500 per tonne fob main ports on August 30, up week-on-week from €450-460 per tonne fob.