EU plate prices stable as restocking begins in Italy

EU heavy plate prices remained stable on the week May 27, with holidays in Northern Europe limiting transactional activity and some initial restocking reported in the Italian market.

Platts plate in Northern Europe was assessed stable at Eur1,650/mt ex-works Ruhr May 27.

With mills focused on supply long-term projects, presence in the spot market remained limited. Market participants reported no offers heard on the day from Northern mills.

In the South European market, prices also remained stable, assessed at Eur1,450/mt ex-works Italy.

A mill source reported a degree of demand revival on the day, particularly compared to other flat steel products, as buyers looked to restock depleted inventories.

“Plate prices are stable, we are seeing some demand revival due to restocking,” the source said. “Overall, plate is and has been doing fine, especially compared to hot-rolled coil.”

A second mill source saw the majority of demand as yet to return, predicting more substantive restocking in the coming weeks.

“I think most are still in wait-and-see,” the source said. “There’s a big difference between today’s prices and those seen in past weeks – everyone as been evaluating the market as it moves and trying to understand if it’s the right moment to start purchasing and restocking. The moment will have to come in the next two weeks, but we’ll see a stabilization until then.”

The latest import slab prices into Southern Europe were reported at $820/mt CIF Italian ports ex-India, unchanged on week. With slab material panic-booked at higher prices in the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and now reaching Italian re-rollers, sources reported limited room for prices to decline on current input costs.

— Benjamin Steven