Italian stockists aim for lower plate prices amid competitive imports

Big distributors of heavy plate in Italy have been making attempts to get lower prices from local re-rollers, citing competitive import deals, sources told S&P Global on July 29.

Big stockists have booked substantial volumes of heavy plate from South Korea and Indonesia at Eur850/mt CIF Italy and have been using competitive overseas prices to get discounts from Italian producers.

“The big buyers still have to restock, but they try to use import prices to squeeze lower prices from Italian mills,” a producer said.

As a result, only a few deals for limited tonnages have been settled with bigger buyers at Eur950-970/mt ex-works Italy. Bids from buyers have been heard at about Eur900/mt ex-works.

The volumes booked from Asia are unlikely to be big enough to substitute Italian material, and buyers are expected to restock during August or early September.

Deals with smaller buyers in Italy have been reported at Eur980-1050/mt ex-works, and deals with buyers in Germany and deliveries for projects have been settled at Eur1,000-1,100/mt ex-works Italy.

Platts assessed plate in Southern Europe at Eur1,000/mt ex-works Italy on July 29, unchanged week on week, according to S&P Global Commodity Insights data.

Slab offers from India and Brazil have been heard at $700/mt CIF Italy to the country’s re-rollers, and one source reported a slab offer from China at $660/mt CFR European ports.

Plate producers in Germany and Northern Europe have been holding back from sales in the spot market. They continue to enjoy solid order books because of long-term contracts with projects.

In Northern Europe, Platts on July 29 assessed plate down by Eur50/mt week on week at Eur1,350/mt ex-works Ruhr.

A majority of market sources reported offers and achievable prices for heavy plate from German mills at Eur1,350-1,380/mt ex-works Ruhr. One source indicated prices could reach Eur1,650/mt ex-works Ruhr, but the information was not widely confirmed.

Offers of plate from Central European mills have been heard in Germany at Eur1,050-1,150/mt ex-works.

— Maria Tanatar, Benjamin Steven