Heavy steel plate prices edge down in Italy ahead of steady April; prices stable in Northern Europe

Steel plate prices were stable in Northern Europe, but slightly down in a quiet Italian market in the week to Wednesday March 29, with producers in Southern Europe giving discounts for bigger volumes, sources told Fastmarkets.
Italian re-rollers were offering May delivery plate at around €900-910 ($974-985) per tonne EXW, with transactions for small tonnages reported at the lower end of the range over the past week.

Stockholder prices for bigger volumes, however, could be below €900 per tonne EXW – at about €870-890 per tonne EXW, sources said.

Stockholders in Italy are now looking to book May delivery plate, but traded volumes remained limited in the week to Wednesday, they added.

Fastmarkets’ weekly price assessment for steel domestic plate, 8-40mm, exw Southern Europe was €890-900 per tonne on Wednesday, down by €10-20 per tonne from €900-920 per tonne on March 22.

Market participants said they expect plate prices to stabilize in April.

“Prices for slab, [which is the key feedstock for steel plate production,] have stabilized,” a mill source told Fastmarkets. “Imports are quite expensive [and] there has been some limited restocking, so a rollover [in plate prices] is a very likely scenario.”

A buyer source agreed, but said supply tightness was a key issue.

“The lack of heavy plate-grade slab will keep the market stable in April,” the buyer source said.

Steel plate from Indonesia and South Korea was on offer in Italy at €860-870 per tonne CFR, for June shipment, sources said, which was also largely stable over the past week. No new booking were reported, however, because the Italian buyers did not consider those offer prices “workable” given the long lead times and the fact they are in line with domestic prices.

Northern Europe
In Northern Europe, steel plate prices have been largely unchanged in the week to March 29, with trading in the region slow and buyers maintaining a “wait-and-see” stance, sources said.

The plate volumes held by distributors and stockholders has reduced, however, so a pick-up in activity is expected soon, they added.

“Stock levels for [heavy plate] have sunk to their lowest level for the past six years,” a trader source told Fastmarkets, “so restocking activity is expected, especially for special sizes and grades.”

One integrated mill in Germany was offering May rolling plate to the spot market at €1,050 per tonne EXW, according to some market participants.

Another integrated mill in the nation, traditionally more focused on sales for projects,was maintaining offers at €1,100 per tonne EXW

Offers from France and Denmark to Germany were heard at €1,030-1,050 per tonne CPT for S355-grade plate with May delivery.

Czech re-roller was aiming for €1,085 per tonne CPT to the German market and reportedly had limited allocation.

Several sources also reported that limited tonnages from a Polish producer were on offer in Germany at €1,070 per tonne CPT, but added that the price was not considered workable because the supplier had apparently had problems with production and had delayed previous deliveries.

Fastmarkets’ weekly price assessment for steel domestic plate, 8-40mm, exw Northern Europe was €1,050 per tonne on Wednesday, narrowing from €1,040-1,070 per tonne on March 22 and reflecting the lower offers, deals and buyer estimates of achievable prices.

Published by: Julia Bolotova