Trading slows, prices flatten in European heavy steel plate market ahead of summer holidays

Activity in the European steel heavy plate market has slowed ahead of summer holidays in the region, while prices have flattened, sources told Fastmarkets on Wednesday July 19.

Apparent demand for steel plate in Italy was slow over the past week, with stockholders seen to be largely holding back from trading.

“Trading has slowed down significantly since last week [the week to July 14]. We’ve been getting very few inquiries for small volumes [of steel plate] recently, it is a seasonally quiet period,” a trading source said.

Tradeable values for larger tonnages for September delivery were reported at €750-760 ($843-854) per tonne EXW during the week, while €770-780 per tonne EXW was achievable for smaller lots, which is largely unchanged from the previous week.

Offer prices from local re-rollers were still heard at around €800 per tonne EXW, but even sellers admitted that those levels were not achievable, given the slow market activity.

As a result, Fastmarkets’ weekly price assessment for steel domestic plate, 8-40mm, exw Southern Europe, was €750-780 per tonne on Wednesday, unchanged since July 5.

Sources expected those levels to be sustained until the end of August.

“During August the steel market in Europe is totally dead, so we expect prices to rollover. Starting in September some pick up [in prices] is likely due to expected restocking,” a mill source said.

Some lower overseas plate offers were reported during the week, mainly due to the strengthening of the euro against the US dollar, sources said.

Notably heavy plate from Indonesia with September shipment was offered to Italy at around €670 per tonne CFR in the assessment week, compared to around €690 per tonne CFR in the week prior.

Northern Europe
Trading activity was also seasonally quiet in Northern Europe, with big buyers also seen to be largely out of the market after restocking earlier this month.

Integrated producers in Northern Europe were mostly concentrating on long-term project business, and were therefore not very active in spot sales.

One mill in Germany reportedly had limited allocation of September-delivery plate at around €830-850 per tonne EXW, but sources said the lower end of the range was only available for the mill’s regular customers.

Another German mill was maintaining its offers for heavy plate for September-October delivery at more than €900 per tonne EXW.

Estimations of tradeable values from buyers were reported at around €850-870 per tonne EXW.

Fastmarkets’ weekly price assessment for steel domestic plate, 8-40mm, exw Northern Europe, was €850-870 per tonne on Wednesday, unchanged since July 12.

A re-roller in Denmark was offering S355-grade plate to Germany at €920 per tonne CPT, sources said.

In Central Europe, sources said a Czech mill was offering limited tonnages of plate around €800 per tonne EXW. An integrated mill from Poland was reportedly not active during the assessment week.

Buyers’ estimations for tradeable values for commodity-grade plates in Central Europe were reported at €800-840 per tonne CPT during the week.

And a producer from Romania was offering S355-grade plate quite aggressively in Central Europe, at around €800 per tonne CPT.

Published by: Julia Bolotova