NW European plate buyers feel Italian hikes

Plate buyers north of the Alps confirm the price hikes reported from Italian re-rollers in the offers they have received lately.

The hikes from Italy are somewhat stronger than those tried by northwestern European mills. They were also higher than the prices offered to domestic customers in Italy.

“Currently, we could buy from Italy S235 for €800/t ($863) delivered Germany, based on a domestic price of €740 ex-works,” says one southern German manager who usually buys Italian. That ex-works domestic price is in line with the price reported for grade S275 (see Kallanish 1 Dec). However, a bigger difference opens when looking at S355, the grade Germans mainly ask for.

While normally the difference is €20-30 at most, one buyer sees ex-works offers stretching up to €790, meaning a premium of €50 over the lower grade. He notes that premiums vary between mills from €30 to €50.  A third-party deal to his customers would result in €850 delivered for the consumer, he says. It is not quite clear if the premium of €50 is a temporary or arbitrary phenomenon.

One Ruhr-based buyer tells of Italian offers at €820/t for S235 delivered, and says he would pay €30 more for S355.

According to the southern German buyer, Italy currently has the lowest offers, undercut only by a UK mill for certain grades. According to a mill source, however, offers in eastern Europe are altogether lower, at €750 delivered in Poland, but could be charged higher when selling westward.

Prices from mills to buyers in northwestern Europe are currently seen at €800-820 delivered.

Christian Koehl Germany