South Europe buyers target lower heavy plate prices on competitive imports

Southern European buyers have been giving lower bids for heavy steel plate in the week to July 22, citing competitive import offers.

Platts assessed plate in Southern Europe at Eur1,000/mt ex-works Italy July 22, down Eur50/mt week on week, according to S&P Global Commodity Insights data.

A buyer reported transactions at Eur1,000-1,020/mt ex-works Italy. An Italian producer said that majority of the deals have been settled at around Eur1,000/mt ex-works. With some customers transactions also have been made at Eur950/mt ex-works and at Eur1,150/mt ex-works.

Offers have been reported at Eur1,000-1,020/mt ex-works and market sources estimated achievable prices at Eur1,000-1,050/mt ex-works.

Italian stockholders have been bidding at Eur900-950/mt ex-works.

Buyers have been citing lower import prices for the material from South Korea as a reason behind the bearish approach.

“There are offers at Eur900-950/mt CFR Italy from South Korea,” an Italian re-roller said. “Stockists use these offers as a reason to ask for lower prices from Italian mills. But I do not think any of the import material was booked, as lead times are long.”

Plate producers in Germany and Northern Europe, in the meantime, have been holding back from sales in the spot market. They continue to enjoy solid order books because of long-term contracts with projects.

In Northern Europe, Platts assessed plate up by Eur25/mt week on week at Eur1,375/mt ex-works Ruhr July 22.

Offers from the region’s mills have been reported at Eur1,400-1,450/mt ex-works Ruhr, one source said that transactions have been settled within the same range. Tradable value has been reported at Eur1,350-1,600/mt ex-works Ruhr. And distributors have been offering the material at Eur1,250-1,500/mt ex-stock.

“Demand and consumption are relatively stable, end-users buy regularly, stockholders reluctant and waiting for lower prices, still making good business, prices between Eur1,300-1,500/mt ex-stock from stockholders,” a German trader said. “Stockholders would like to sell more but combination of high profit and smaller quantities makes them happy – stockholders always complaining.”

— Maria Tanatar, Benjamin Steven