During the first quarter of 2023, Steel Wire Rod prices in the US market experienced an upward trend as major players raised feedstock prices amidst soaring scrap costs. After a sluggish start, demand picked up moderately, reflecting lower inventory levels following the holiday season. Downstream demand for domestic Steel Wire Rods remained strong, but producers did not raise prices significantly due to wide raw material margins. In February, rebar prices showed decoupling from raw materials, with producers having little incentive to raise selling prices despite rising production costs. Economic uncertainty and rising interest rates added to the already low construction demand. The raw material scrap market remained firm in March, with US market participants confident that Steel Wire Rod prices would remain stable. Domestic demand remained stable as seasonal construction picked up and funding from the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act reached end users. As a ripple effect, the Wire Rod (A36-8 mm) for Ex Texas and CFR Texas was assessed at USD 1524/MT and USD 1427/MT, respectively.
In Q1 2023, the Chinese Steel Wire Rod market witnessed an upswing in prices due to stable raw material prices and increased inquiries from the downstream construction segment. Following the holiday, market quotations were generally higher, but the market was relatively quiet due to most terminal enterprises and futures companies still being on vacation. Stainless Steel Prices mills raised ex-factory prices during the holiday, increasing traders' costs, as Steel Wire Rod production costs remained high. The majority of BF steel mills maintained stable production, and the resumption of electric arc furnaces contributed significantly to the significant increase in February. Market sentiment improved on the demand side as rebar prices stabilized and rebounded, and on the supply side, the operating rates of domestic Electric Arc Furnace (EAF) steel mills continued to rise. Steel Wire Rod prices from Eastern China mills remained unchanged in early March, indicating their cautious assessment of the market's recovery. The overall sentiment in the domestic steel market improved somewhat throughout Q1, resulting in the Wire Rod market settling at USD 655/MT and USD 689/MT for Ex Shanghai and FOB Shanghai, respectively.
In Q1 2023, the Steel Wire Rod prices in the German market remained stagnant due to limited downstream construction queries, while domestic manufacturers continued to raise prices. The Steel Rebar market was stable, but the combination of lower energy costs and weak demand could have led to further downward pressure on prices. Although distributors had ordered from the construction sector, any increase in prices resulted in a halt in sales, as customers refused to buy above a certain price level. In January, local producers had only partially resumed output due to a lack of orders, and downstream players reported significantly lower private residential sales. Steel Wire Rod demand remained low, but mills refused to lower their prices further, citing high costs. Despite expectations of higher price movements due to rising energy and scrap costs, limited import availability for Steel Wire Rods, and producers seeking higher prices, the market remained in a deadlock. As a result, the discussion of Steel Wire Rod settled at USD 746/MT and USD 722/MT for Ex Ruhr and CFR Bremen, respectively.
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