European plate mills stop giving prices

As a consequence of the war in Ukraine, many plate mills in northwest Europe have suspended issuing offers and giving prices, Kallanish hears from a mill source.

Plate prices have seen a relatively strong resurgence since the start of the year. The most recent tangible prices for S235 were lately seen moving towards €1,050/tonne ($1,168) ex-works; those for S355 were peaking above that.

The disruption to slab supplies from Ukraine to Europe will accelerate the price surge, but to what degree is unclear. At present, “no Western mill is making offers, or giving prices, and I don’t know when they will do,” the source says. He adds that prices and offers can still be had from stockholders, meaning more buyers may have to turn that way.

He notes that slab supplies from Russia are still coming in at the moment, but could be blocked once EU sanctions take effect. “I bought slabs in December and I’m glad they still came in last week,” says a manager at a processor that hires reversing mill facilities from the big German steelmakers for re-rolling.

Even before the conflict erupted with Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, tensions cast a shadow over the larger market. Rising northwest European prices were matched by those in Central and Eastern Europe. “You won’t get them cheaper from Poland or the Czech Republic either,” one buyer observes.

Another German tells of offers from Italy for S355 J2+N (notch impact energy tested + normalised) grade plate at €1,110/t ex-works, which would translate to €1,170/t delivered Ruhr. “And I was told you won’t get it for less,” he adds.

Christian Koehl Germany