Italian plate market quietens on lower import prices

The Italian plate market is reported to have lost momentum since the beginning of April after the high sales volumes registered by both producers and distributors in March. Domestic contracted prices remain at high levels, but they have lost the €2,000/tonne ($2,172/t) high point of the range for S275 grade seen at end-March, sources tell Kallanish.

Sales activity is becoming quiet, mostly due to the competitive import offers reaching Italian buyers. Both domestic and Far East-origin heavy plate prices are now softening, and European buyers are booking imported material that is significantly less expensive than domestic plate.

In the Italian market, mills are quoting S275 grade at €1,900/t ex-works, while 355 grade is €50/t more expensive. Contract prices this month for S275 are at between €1,750-1,900/t ex-works, sources suggest. Demand for premium 355 grade is robust, but this grade is in short supply. Because of the Ukraine war, the high-quality slab needed to produce 355 is less available and very expensive.

Meanwhile, some offers of S275 are quoted from the Far East at €1,300-1,380/t cif Italy for small volumes, and at €1,400-1,480/t cif for premium grade 355. Some buyers have purchased 275 plate from this origin at €1,300/t cif, but only limited tonnages. Offers for Indian-origin 275 plate are also at €1,300/t cif, but the 25% safeguard duty has to be added on top, for material that arrives after quarterly quotas expire.

As of 5 April, the remaining second-quarter EU quota availability for Indian HS code 7208 51 20 00, 7208 51 91 00, 7208 51 98 00 and 7208 52 91 00 plate was only 46,000 tonnes. The availability for Indian HS code 7208 52 10 00 and 7208 52 99 00 plate was however almost 189,000t.

Italian producers are quoting end-June and July lead times.

Natalia Capra France