Italian plate market stagnates despite limited output

The Italian heavy plate market continues to stagnate this week. While prices are adjusting downwards, transactions remain limited and the true market level is therefore difficult to ascertain. Only some small-tonnage contracts are being implemented for back-to-back purchases, sources tell Kallanish.

Both producers and distributors continue to lament an almost complete lack of demand. Buyers are focusing on selling their stocks. Those distributors and service centres that are well-stocked are selling but only small volumes. One mid-size service centre however says he has registered slightly livelier demand this week.

Domestic prices for the basic grade S275 from domestic players are at €1,400-1,450/tonne ($1,493-1,546) base ex-works. At the beginning of the month, prices were at €1,600/t ex-works. Towards the end of March and in April, the high point of the range for domestic S275 was as high as €2,000/t ex-works. Some domestic producers however are quoting long lead times, into September, as heavy plate output remains limited and Metinvest’s Italian plate subsidiary, Trametal, is currently implementing maintenance works.

Some Asian-origin import offers are falling from the level of €1,400/t cfr Italy ten days ago to €1,150-1,200/t cfr for S275. At present, only a few import offers are heard in the Italian market and buyers refuse to purchase material offered for end-July loading that will only arrive in September.

The 355 grade remains in short supply because of supply difficulties for the high-grade slab needed to produce 355, Kallanish notes.

Natalia Capra France