EU heavy plate prices supported by absence of cheap imports, healthy demand

Improved buyer interest and an absence of cheap heavy plate from Asia have been supporting domestic prices in Europe in the week to September 16.

Platts assessed plate in Northern Europe at Eur1,175/mt ex-works Ruhr on Sept. 16, unchanged on the week.

Tradable value for German heavy plate has been reported at Eur1,100-1,200/mt ex-works with the majority of sources indicating a range of Eur1,150-1,200/mt ex-works as achievable prices.

“Demand is fine, not brilliant but stable at good level, lead times are at one-month minimum now,” an Italian re-roller said.

Platts assessed plate in Southern Europe at Eur1,000/mt ex-works Italy on Sept. 16, down by Eur10/mt week on week.

The assessment was based on deals heard at Eur980-1,020/mt ex-works Italy and tradable value estimated by market sources at Eur950-1,050/mt ex-works Italy.

The accident at South Korean rolling mill earlier this month resulted in withdrawal of cheap heavy plate offers from the EU market and the producer focused on slab sales instead.

Offers of heavy plate from Japan and Taiwan been reported at Eur900-910/mt CIF at both Antwerp and Southern European ports, compared with the latest offers from a South Korean supplier of Eur820-830/mt CIF Italy.

The producer has made several deals for slab with the European buyers, including Italian re-rollers, at $610-$620/mt CIF. After the sales the exporters stopped offering material and market sources believe that it will keep prices low only until excess slabs are available during rolling line reparation.

Offers and tradable values for other origin slab have been reported at $650-$700/mt CIF Italy.

“I think that the price around $650/mt CFR is a more realistic number,” an Italian source said, noting low South Korea prices would likely not last.

Platts assessed import slab in Southern Europe at $635/mt CIF Italy on Sept. 16, down $15/mt week on week.

— Maria Tanatar, Benjamin Steven