The rebound in northwest European plate prices that began at the end of 2022 is continuing – not in leaps, but steadily, according to market sources.
Both north and south of the Alps, the ex-works offer price for standard grade S355 plate has reached or surpassed the mark of €1,000/tonne ($1,075). This may not yet actually be paid domestically in Italy, but is heard in some transactions in Germany. “We did have deals for €20 above €1,000,” a mill source tells Kallanish. He concedes that some orders may have been driven by pressure to meet project deadlines, and have so far been an exception.
Elevated prices may become frequent soon, though, buy-side sources believe. “We are preparing for €1,050, and do not exclude €1,100 further ahead,” a manager of a northern German stockholder says. He says a buying spree kicked in just before Christmas and continued into January.
The mill source confirms: “We had all hands on deck with long work days, and it was like that at all mills, but in the last week activity quietened down.” Interestingly, the mill source is less sure about price hikes than buyers. “Mills certainly go for €1,000+, but it remains to be seen if they get it all the time,” he opines. He also notes the big integrated players are trying to push lead times into May but, at the moment, most sources see April delivery as still possible. The first quarter, however, is all closed now, players are sure.
Christian Koehl Germany