Large German plate stockholders seeking prompt Italian material

European plate prices were heard higher April 30 with offers transitioning to Eur1000/mt ex-works Ruhr. Meanwhile, Italian producers are relishing the lack of competition from German mills with long lead times (earliest November), versus a more prompt May delivery from Italian re-rollers, sources told S&P Global Platts.

A Benelux service center source said availability was much better on plate than it was for coils, with a further uptrend in prices expected as merchant bars and beams enjoy additional increases.

“At this moment, availability is acceptable,” the service center source said, with demand from end-users heard to be improving compared to the consistent demand seen from distributors/stockholders as re-stocking efforts continue.

Few offers were heard from Dillinger, whose lead times were heard for November, said a German distributor, with Salzgitter heard to be offering Eur1000/mt DAP Germany.

“It has much to do with slabs. These integrated mills either sell slabs at very high prices on the world market or they give slabs for production of CRC/HDG downstream where they earn more money than plate,” the distributor said. “It’s making a shortage for re-rollers to get any slabs.”

An Italian mill source said slab prices were expected to increase further next month, and this was adding further bullish support to Italian plate prices.

“Eur950/mt ex-works is more than enough to cover new increases [on slabs]. We need to land between Eur900-950/mt ex-works Italy,” the same source said.

Adding to the lucrative situation in Italy, a second Italian mill source said big German stockholders were now keen for Italian lead times.

“They’re looking closely for material before their summer closures. We [Italy] can still deliver for late May,” the source said. “[For] new production for late-May delivery we cannot go below Eur950/mt ex-works Italy.”

— Amanda Flint