EU steel plate prices soften in slow market

Domestic prices for heavy plate in the EU have decreased on week to June 10 due to slow trading activity.

The situation, however, is likely to change soon as big spot buyers will need to restock and project that would require plate are expected to launch after summer, sources said.

Offers of heavy plate in Italy have been reported at Eur1,400-1,500/my ex-works. But tradable value was estimated by both buyers and sellers at Eur1,300-1,350/mt ex-works. One producer source also said that prices are likely to slide to Eur1,200/mt ex-works in the short term.

Platts assessed plate in Southern Europe at Eur1,350/mt ex-works Ruhr June 10, down Eur100 on the week.

In Northern Europe, Platts assessed plate down by Eur150/mt on week to Eur1,550/mt ex-works Ruhr June 10.

Achievable prices have been reported at Eur1,400-1,650/mt ex-works Ruhr.

German mills have been focused on sales under long-term agreements or to project, directing limited plate volumes to spot buyers.

As a result, Italian re-rollers have been offering July rolling plate, while German mills are booked until September-October.

“Whoever needs material sooner can get it from Italy, if they need specific plate that re-rollers cannot make, they would have to wait for it longer,” a German source said.

Demand is expected to recover due to combination of restocking and restart of some projects, sources said.

“Big stockists and service centers have been holding back from making any substantial deals for over a month now,” an Italian source said. “And end user demand was not bad, so they will return to restock soon – as soon as they realize that prices have stabilized.”

— Maria Tanatar