Northern European heavy plate prices drop on weak demand

The North European plate market continued on a downtrend Aug. 19, with mills hungry for volumes on low demand toward the close of the holiday period.

In Northern Europe, Platts assessed heavy plate down Eur75/mt on week, at Eur1,125/mt ex-works Ruhr.

German mills have been heard as offering additional volumes into the spot market in recent weeks, given poor overall demand, with offers cited by sources at Eur1,150-1,200/mt ex-works and delivered Ruhr.

Distribution sources reported tradable value at Eur1,100-1,150/mt ex-works Ruhr, with indications generally falling by Eur50/mt on week.

Spot offers were reportedly limited to October delivery and for established customers, with sources speculating mills want to protect prices for later in Q4, anticipating a price increase. Customers were heard as happy with this arrangement, not wanting to expose themselves fully for the full fourth quarter on high stocks and uncertainty on price direction.

“I think distributors are pretty happy just to fill gaps in stocks on the current price trend,” said a distributor. “Of course, stockholders will quickly change their mind if they see prices start to go up again.”

A service-center source said ex-stock prices were being driven “into the ditch,” with sales from stockholders Eur600-800/mt below the purchase price.

In Italy, the market remains quiet through the holiday period, with little transactional activity reported. Prices in the region are stable at Eur950/mt ex-works, with the assessment unchanged on week.

Platts is part of S&P Global Commodity Insights.

— Maria Tanatar, Benjamin Steven