Italian plate prices decline amid slow demand, imports

Italian plate prices are declining in some contracts amid a sluggish market. Large buyers continue to be absent and sales are being implemented only for small tonnages, sources tell Kallanish.

Distributors say they are all waiting. There is low-priced imported material being offered and sold at Italian ports at the equivalent of €690-700/tonne ($765) cfr for the high S355 grade. Since mid-February, demand has become particularly quiet.

Italian mills are officially at €770-780/t for S275 grade base delivered this month. However, transactions are occurring at €730-740/t, while S355 is being transacted at €30-40/t higher, sources suggest. Some mills are keeping the €750-760/t level for S275. Margins are becoming tight, considering high processing costs and slab prices which remain at approximately $650/t cfr Italy.

Distribution sources agree “the phones are not ringing”. Those who are well stocked with different grades of plate are reporting to be selling small volumes.

Mills have however filled their order books until April and May, and can afford to sell less and try to hold on to higher prices in this quiet market.

Natalia Capra France