Italian plate prices to increase

Italian plate mill asking values are seen increasing by around €30-40/tonne ($32-43) compared to December for material to be delivered in February. Demand is lively and the market is expected to become quiet this coming week amid Christmas holiday stoppages, sources tell Kallanish.

Despite the negative expectations, the fourth quarter has been positive and will be closed with improved results compared to last year. A mill source says they are shipping and selling at full capacity “as if it were a normal month”, when usually December is shorter due to the holidays.

Another mill source says, overall, 2023 was a positive year for plate sales. Expectations for 2024 are also optimistic thanks to the several infrastructure projects expected to start, funded by the EU’s post-pandemic recovery fund.

Plate re-rollers are now quoting delivery at end-January and the second half of February. Contract prices are on an upward trend. On average, S275 grade plate is now fetching between €730-750/t delivered, while S355 is transacted at €20/t higher, sources say. New prices for S275 are expected to be between €780-800/t for S275 and €820-850/t for S355.

A distributor says 2023 has been acceptable with companies managing to cover costs and achieve some earnings. Downstream, the market remains fragile. The distributor says he is working mostly based on customers’ urgent requirements. The strong wave of increases across all products seen in Europe is causing buyers to adopt a wait-and-see attitude and the market to become extremely quiet.

Natalia Capra France