Some Italian distributors tell Kallanish that their level of sales activity has increased significantly since the end of lockdown on 4 May. This is happening however as producers for both longs and flats products are struggling to generate sales due to the current uncertain climate.
Both smaller and larger service centres for plate and long products are preferring to implement over-the-counter purchases for their immediate needs from distributors rather than commit to purchasing from mills. They believe that already-declining mills’ plate prices will continue to fall and prefer therefore to limit their orders from producers.
In March and April both mills and distributors registered a large number of unpaid invoices and are being affected by the current credit crisis in Italy. Lower-quality S275 heavy plate from local mills is now €450-460/tonne ($487-498/t) base ex-works. A premium of €20/t is being paid for the higher grade S355. Distributor prices for S275 grade product remains at €510-530/t ex-works or delivered, depending on point of delivery.
Meanwhile traditional exporters to Italy from Asia are giving up selling plates in Southern Europe because “… […both] prices and offers from buyers are too low,” one seller says. Bids from Italian buyers and for good quality S275 go as low as $400/t cfr and buyers are refusing to pay any higher prices, Kallanish hears.