The ambitious announcements made by German rebar mills for price increases since early April are far from materialising in transaction prices, and are not expected to do so in the near term.

Buyers in northern and central Germany claim that orders can still be made at the old base price valid in March, at €450/tonne ($492). Adding the size extra of €265, this would result in €715/t delivered.

Smaller stockholders may have paid €10-30 more than that, but also say that a noticeable upward move will not come unless demand improves. “There is not much activity on the construction market, and companies are fiercely competing,” a manager at a German rural stockholder says.

Mills have been heard striving for increases of between €50 and €80, a figure that corresponds with the increase in scrap prices since the beginning of the year. However, scrap prices are currently seen flattening, possibly reclining, as have energy prices already. That, in combination with low overall demand, could negate ambitious increase attempts.

In fact, mills have all but stopped giving out any prices at all, a manager at a larger bender tells Kallanish. “When I make an inquiry, they tell me flatly – you are not buying anyway, so why should we give you a price?” he observes. In fact, reports of effective transactions are hard to find and, on the whole, stockists can still feed demand using their existing inventories.

In its latest monthly outlook, rebar association Irepas writes: “European domestic mills are fighting for every order,” and “the market is fluctuating and unstable, with an unsatisfactory outlook for the next quarter.”