The dip in rebar prices to a late-year low that normally occurs at the end of autumn may fail to take place this time around. This is another effect of the EU’s safeguard measures for steel, Kallanish hears from German sources.
Late October to late November is the time that stockholders normally stop buying rebar, in order to keep inventories low at the turn of the year. Prices soften as a consequence, only to regain strength towards the very end of the year when orders resume for deliveries in January.
“That’s what it’s like in nine out of ten years; but I’m not so sure it will be like that this year,” a manager in North Rhine Westphalia says. This will be a likely consequence of limitations on exports by the EU’s safeguard measures. Of the duty-free import volumes under the quota from 1 July, only residual volumes are left at the ports. “So, people who did not order earlier won’t get any rebar imports free of duties,” he says.
This will likely encourage local mills to keep prices stable “… so that we won’t see the usual dip, and maybe even an increase,” the manager says. The base price in the North Rhine-Westphalia region is seen at around €270/tonne ($303/t), translating to €535/t delivered. “For big volumes you may get offers for €260/t, but not in the daily spot business,” he says.
In southern Germany, prices are €10 or more lower. According to a Bavarian stockholder who buys from various sources, standard prices from domestic mills are €260-265/t, due to competition from Italian suppliers. For Italian rebar going to Bavaria, the base price is at €250/t, so that the delivered price would be €515/t.