Italian plates demand resumes in June

The Italian heavy plate market continues to stagnate this month with declining prices and virtually no sales, sources tell Kallanish. Despite the lull, however, northern European producers are said to have full order books, in some cases through the end of the year. Their sales are driven by strong demand from infrastructure and renewable energy projects such as on and offshore wind farms.

In Italy, uncertainty and low visibility are causing a wave of price falls for all steel products. Smaller and larger distributors are focusing on getting rid of their stocks of plates bought at high prices in March and April. While sales to distributors are currently “frozen,” some end-users such as shipbuilders predict that their purchasing volumes will not lower this year (see Kallanish 31 May). Despite the low Asian import offers for plates, there is no appetite for material and no desire to commit to the import’s long delivery time. Several distributors say their usual high-volume customers, in May and June, are not requesting any material.

Domestic prices for the basic grade S275 from domestic players are at €1,350-1,400/tonne ($1,445-1,499/t) base ex-works, but “there is no market at the moment,” a re-roller confirms.

Metinvest’s Italian plate subsidiary, Trametal, is currently implementing maintenance works and should resume output in the next days after having received a vessel of slabs. Other re-rollers are reducing output to adapt to a low level of demand.

Demand from the large Italian buyers is seen resuming by the end of June and beginning of July.

Natalia Capra France