EU plate prices up, South Korea offers slab to Italy

Domestic prices for heavy plate increased across Europe in the week to Sept. 9, supported by healthy demand and rising energy costs.

Although Italian rerollers had originally anticipated the increase of import slab offers, a supplier from South Korea has started to give competitive offers following an accident at Pohang plant earlier this week.

Platts assessed plate in Northern Europe up by Eur75/mt on the week at Eur1,175/mt ex-works Ruhr on Sept. 9.

Tradable value has been heard at Eur1,100-1,200/mt ex-works Ruhr and offers have been reported at Eur1,200-1,250/mt ex-works Ruhr.

“Demand is good and lead times enlarging starting October minimum,” an Italian source said.

“Demand for plate is healthy as some projects still seek for material and stocks are not as high,” an Italian reroller said. “In addition, there was a massive gap in supply earlier this year after slab deliveries from Black Sea stopped and it resulted in balanced plate supply and demand.”

Platts assessed plate in Southern Europe at Eur1,010/mt ex-works Italy on Sept. 9, up by Eur50/mt week on week.

Deals have been reported at Eur980-1,030/mt ex-works Italy. The prices are likely to move further up as market participants estimated tradable value at Eur1,000-1,050/mt ex-works Italy. And one source said that the material was available at prices above Eur1,000/mt ex-works Italy.

Surging energy prices had bigger impact on rerollers than on integrated mills operating blast furnaces, market participants said.

One Italian reroller said that the costs of slab rerolling into heavy plate “tripled this year.” Another producer source said that the cost increased to Eur200-300/mt.

As a result, European rerollers needed to push for higher heavy plate prices to cover the rising production costs, sources said.

Offers of slab from India and Brazil have been reported at $700-$710/mt CIF Italy.

Offers of slab from South Korea have been heard at $650/mt CIF Italy. One source said that bids for the material have been “below $650/mt CIF and no deals were made.” Another trading source said that negotiations for the material have continued, and the estimated price was $630/mt CIF Italy. Another source said that the price was $610/mt CIF.

An Italian reroller was reported to negotiate a deal for 100,000 mt South Korean slab, several market sources said.

Platts assessed import slab in Southern Europe at $650/mt CIF Italy on Sept. 9, unchanged week on week.

An accident at a South Korean rolling mill resulted in the withdrawal of competitive import plate offers – the latest heard at Eur820-830/mt CIF Italy – have been withdrawn and the supplier started to look for buyers for its slab.

Platts is part of S&P Global Commodity Insights.

— Maria Tanatar, Benjamin Steven