EU plate prices rise on solid demand, higher slab costs

Domestic prices for heavy plate increased in Europe in the week to Feb. 17, supported by healthy demand and rising slab offers.

In addition, availability of heavy plate from European producers had been limited due to good order books in Italy and Germany, stronger focus of German mills on projects and long-term agreements over spot market as well as reduced production in Central Europe.

Platts assessed domestic prices for heavy plate in Northwest Europe at Eur1,025/mt ex-works Ruhr on Feb. 17, up by Eur25/mt week on week.

A German steelmaker that has been more involved in the spot market has been offering the material at Eur1,000-1,050/mt ex-works Ruhr.

Another mill traditionally focused on long-term and project supply has been offering plate at Eur1,080-1,120/mt ex-works Ruhr.

Market participants estimated tradable values at Eur990-1,100/mt ex-works Ruhr.

Demand for heavy plate has been good and buyers have been accepting higher prices, sources said.

“Demand for plate is fine, we see buyers, including bigger stockholders accepting price rises,” a steelmaker said. “Deals were settled at Eur910-920/mt ex-works Italy and some rerollers are already offering at Eur940-950/mt ex-works Italy.”

Other market participants have confirmed the target prices of Eur940-950/mt ex-works and transactions at Eur910-920/mt ex-works.

In South Europe, Platts assessed domestic prices for heavy plate at Eur920/mt ex-works Italy on Feb. 17, up by Eur20/mt on week.

Rising slab offers have also contributed to the bullish sentiment in the European plate market.

“With current slab costs, plate prices above Eur900/mt ex-works is a necessity to cover costs and secure some margin,” an Italian reroller said.

While in the beginning of the week few deals for the semi-finished products had been settled at $710-$720/mt CIF Italy, by the end of the week such prices were no longer attainable. A limited number of suppliers have been offering slab at $750/mt CIF Italy and the exporters have been reluctant to negotiate discounts, sources said.

Platts assessed prices for imported slab in South Europe at $750/mt CIF Italy on Feb. 17, up by $25/mt on week.

Platts is part of S&P Global Commodity Insights.

— Maria Tanatar, Benjamin Steven