The European plate market remained relatively stable Feb. 12 as the market deals with deteriorating demand from the construction sector, with more inquiries coming from distribution.
“It’s a quiet market! Distribution is getting more cautious as end-user business is not really picking up,” a European mill source said. “Europe is a bubble.”
Imports have been picking up steam in the European market, with lead times and prices almost equal those of domestic prices. Imports from Indonesia were heard at Eur625/mt FCA Antwerp.
German inventories are now at 5-year record lows, specifically for quarto plate, with 2020 stock levels 20% lower than that of 2019.
Inventories averaged 417,000 mt in January 2020, down from the 498,000 mt in January 2019.
“You will see that 2020 was a year of complete destocking – stocks went down 20%,” an Italy-based mill source said.
In the Italian market, Eur680/mt was not realized over the past few weeks, with the market slow and no big requests from customers.
“It’s not a sustainable trend, but the market is not completely dead, there is some consumption,” an Italy mill source said.
Sources said despite the faltering demand, production was stable and re-rollers were still flexible on production, with only slight variations on utilization rates.
— Amanda Flint