EU plate prices start to rebound after multiple months of decline

Domestic prices for heavy plate in Europe started to recover in the week ended Dec. 16 after having bottomed out a week earlier.

High production costs have been the main reason behind the price rise in Italy, according to market sources.

Platts assessed Italian heavy plate up Eur20 week on week at Eur750/mt ex-works Italy on Dec. 16.

The assessment was based on spot deals reported at Eur750-Eur770/mt ex-works Italy, tradable values estimated by market sources at Eur720/mt ex-works Italy and offers for Italian material heard at Eur800/mt delivered Germany.

“Big buyers are gone from the market after they booked needed volumes a week ago and market is getting slower due to approaching Christmas holidays,” an Italy-based re-roller said. “But with current slab costs re-rollers will have to increase plate prices. We need prices of at least Eur800/mt ex-works to cover the costs.”

Platts assessed import slab prices in Italy at $575/mt CIF Italy Dec. 16, up $10 week on week.

A second source reported slab offers from India at $550/mt CIF Italy and a third source reported offers at $560-$570/mt CIF Italy.

Indicative offers from Brazil were heard at $580/mt CIF Italy and from Vietnam at $570-575/mt CIF Italy.

An Italy-based slab importer, however, said that new offers have moved up to $620-$630/mt CIF from India and to $650-$680/mt CIF from China.

Tradable value was also heard at $550-$600/mt CIF Italy.

Platts assessed heavy plate in Northern Europe up Eur25 week on week at Eur850/mt ex-works Ruhr on Dec. 16.

A Germany-based steelmaker was heard still giving discounts for limited volumes of excess material they needed to sell. Deals and offers were heard at Eur800-Eur850/mt ex-works Ruhr and Eur800-Eur850/mt delivered Ruhr from the mill. One source also said that the producer was offering sd355jr-grade plate at Eur925/mt delivered Germany. The discounted material, however, had been available only to some customers, according to market participants.

Another German mill, traditionally less involved in the spot market, maintained its plate offers above Eur1,000/mt ex-works Ruhr, a fifth source said.

Platts is part of S&P Global Commodity Insights.

— Maria Tanatar, Benjamin Steven