EU plate prices increase on longer lead times, high costs

Domestic prices for heavy plate increased in Europe in the week ended Jan. 13, supported by strong mill order books and seasonal demand revival.

In addition, re-rollers have had to aim for higher prices and were expected to continue attempts to move prices further due to high slab and energy costs, market sources said.

Platts assessed heavy plate in Northern Europe up Eur15 on the week at Eur940/mt ex-works Ruhr.

Market participants have estimated tradable value in a range of Eur920-Eur950/mt ex-works Ruhr.

A Germany-based steelmaker was offering heavy plate at Eur950/mt ex-works Ruhr. A re-roller said the mill had sold excess volumes at a low price in December and were now moving prices up.

Offers from another German mill have been heard at Eur1,000/mt ex-works Ruhr. The steelmaker, however, has been predominantly focused on fulfilment of long-term contracts and supplying material to projects, limiting its involvement in the commodity plate spot market.

The earliest shipment European plate producers can provide is March, several market sources said, with limited volumes available for the month.

Platts assessed domestic heavy plate in Southern Europe at Eur840/mt ex-works Italy on Dec. 13. The assessment decreased Eur40 week on week, with the previous week’s assessment based on offers from Italy to Northern Europe at higher prices.

Italian re-rollers have resumed domestic trade this week following holidays, and the assessment increased Eur40 as sales increased from the week ended Dec. 30.

Transactions have been reported at Eur820-Eur850/mt ex-works Italy, with bids and offers heard at Eur800/mt ex-works Italy and Eur840-Eur880/mt ex-works Italy, respectively.

Italian re-rollers were expected to target Eur900/mt ex-works Italy to cover high slab costs, sources said.

Platts assessed import slab prices in Italy unchanged on the week at $640/mt CIF Italy Jan. 13.

Deals for semi-finished products from Asia were reported at $620-$650/mt CIF Italy.

Toward the end of the week, however, sources suggested prices of $650/mt CIF were longer achievable and that some suppliers had increased offers to $700-$750/mt CIF Italy.

Platts is part of S&P Global Commodity Insights.

— Maria Tanatar, Benjamin Steven