Plate prices slide in Italy, stabilize in Northern Europe; price floor yet to be touched

Plate prices have remained under pressure across Europe, and buyers have been holding back from trading given that the price bottom is not yet clear, sources told Fastmarkets on Wednesday July 6.
Italy’s plate market has remained quiet in the seven days to July 6 amid limited trading and buyers’ bearish expectations.

Plate producers in the nation had thin order books for July-August, sources said.

“Plate prices are still under pressure,” a producer source told Fastmarkets. “The main problem is massive unsold [plate] quantities for July-August and cheaper imports. It is still a buyer’s market.”

Bids from stockholders were heard at €1,100 ($1,136) per tonne exw, and even €1,050 from large buyers.

Offers from local rerollers were ranging between €1,150 and €1,200 per tonne exw in the week to July 6, sources said.

But such prices were not workable, market sources said, because in the secondary market, plate from stock was being sold at €1,150-1,200 per tonne cpt.

Buyers’ estimates of achievable prices were in the range of €1,050-1,100 per tonne exw.

Some limited restocking activity is expected in the second half of July, which could support sliding plate prices in the nation, sources said.

“In the plate market, there has been no full-fledged restocking for a long time,” a source in the local market told Fastmarkets. “We are seeing some inquiries for August and September delivery material.”

Fastmarkets’ price assessment for steel domestic plate, 8-40mm, exw Southern Europe was €1,100-1,150 ($1,136-1,187) per tonne on Wednesday, down by €100-150 per tonne from €1,200-1,300 per tonne a week before.

The assessment was a reflection of the lowest offers and highest bids heard in the market during the assessment week.

Offers for plate with August shipment from India and South Korea were heard at €950-980 per tonne cfr Italy, sources said.

Northern Europe
The plate market in Northern Europe was still heavily overstocked, especially for commodity grades, so buying activity has remained thin over the past week.

Stockholders in the region were mainly focused on selling devalued plate stocks rather than restocking in the declining market, Fastmarkets understands.

The official level of offers from German producers was still at around €1,450-1,500 per tonne exw and above, but the workable price buyers had in mind did not exceed €1,350-1,400 per tonne exw for German plate.

August-shipment rolling plate from Belgian reroller NLMK Clabecq was offered at €1,300 per tonne exw.

Fastmarkets’ weekly price assessment for steel domestic plate, 8-40mm, exw Northern Europe was €1,300-1,400 per tonne on July 6, unchanged from the previous week.

The assessment was a reflection of the lower end of offers and market sources’ estimates of achievable prices.

The official offers from German integrated mills were not included in the assessment since, as sources told Fastmarkets, they have been substantially above the spot market level.

German buyers were placing bids for Italy-origin material at €1,100-1,150 per tonne cpt during the week, Fastmarkets heard.

Plate offers from Poland were reported at 1,200-1,230 per tonne exw.

There may still be room for a domestic price drop in Northern Europe, market sources said.

“There are cheaper [plate] offers from Italy and Central Europe, so German prices are not attractive at all,” a distributor in the Benelux region told Fastmarkets, adding that “the level of stock is still pretty high, so buyers are in no rush.”

Published by: Julia Bolotova