Northwest EU plate prices surrender further ground

As northern European demand for plate is not showing any post-summer revival, prices have given in further, and may continue to do so.

S355 grade is now seeking orientation around the €800/tonne ($842) mark, some quoting delivered, some ex-works. One realistic observer sees the range at between €790 and €840. Others refuse to believe mills would go under €800/t, especially German suppliers.

“Mills are offering at around €820/t now. I can try to bid lower than €800, but they would not concede,” one northern German buyer believes. Others, too, do not see the €800/t mark being undercut by much. “Certainly not from Ilsenburg [Salzgitter],” a manager in Lower Saxony says. But he does not exclude the possibility, as he states that “we are sure the floor has not been reached, as new projects are rare.”

The floor could be where one Ruhr-based manager sees it already, at around €750/t, even from domestic mills, he claims. However, there are not many who concur. He also however hears one high offer at above €850, which gives an idea of the current market divergence.

Normally, domestic integrated mills sell commodity grades in a bundle with higher-end plate, at still a relatively higher price than re-rollers. But that connection has dissolved lately, meaning big mills are more willing to sell off commodity grades by themselves, he tells Kallanish.

Prices for high-grade plate are deteriorating as well, although some high-tensile and wear-resistant grades are holding up better than others, one source says.

Christian Koehl Germany