EU heavy plate prices stable as demand remains limited

Domestic prices for heavy plate have been fairly stable in Europe in the week to July 15 as market activity remained muted.

Platts assessed plate in Southern Europe at Eur1,050/mt ex-works Italy July 15, unchanged week on week, according to S&P Global Commodity Insights data.

Deals with smaller buyers have been reported at Eur1,100/mt ex-works Italy, but tradable value for bigger stockists has been estimated by a producer at Eur950-1,050/mt ex-works. And market participants estimated achievable prices at Eur1,000-1,050/mt ex-works Italy. Official offers have been heard at Eur1,100-1,200/mt ex-works Italy.

Although few sources reported some restocking revival, the overall market activity remained below average due to seasonal buyers slowdown and summer maintained at the mills.

“Market is quiet. Northern European mills are moving into maintenance shut down,” a German trader said. “Due to vacation period in Germany, demand from stock is slowing down. Order books are still good, but buyers try to wait as long as they can before booking new volumes.”

“Mills are offering mid-September production now and customers need to act now to get volumes required for restocking, so demand might improve,” a German trader said.

Italian re-rollers were reported to take 4-6 weeks of maintenance this summer and a German mill was heard to stop operations a week earlier than originally planned due to technical issues.

Slab offers from Brazil were reported at $700/mt CIF Italy, a trader said. Another source estimated achievable prices for the semi-finished product from Asia at Eur640-650/mt CIF Italy.

Plate producers in Germany and Northern Europe, in the meantime, have been holding back from sales in the spot market. They continue to enjoy solid order books because of long-term contracts with projects.

In Northern Europe, Platts assessed plate unchanged week on week at Eur1,375/mt ex-works Ruhr July 15, up by Eur25/mt week on week.

Offers from German mills have been reported at Eur1,400-1,450/mt ex-works Ruhr and tradable value has been estimated at Eur1,350/mt ex-works Ruhr.

Central European mills have been less active in German market, sources said, with offers from one integrated producer heard at Eur1,100/mt ex-works.

— Maria Tanatar, Benjamin Steven