Europe plate: Imports weigh on EU prices

  • Market: Metals
  • 28/03/24

Plate prices in Europe tumbled this week on increased import activity, which has pushed European producers to adjust their offers down to remain competitive.

The Argus fortnightly Italian plate assessment dropped by €22.50/t to €730/t ex-works today for S235 grades, while the northwest European plate assessment for the same specifications also dropped by €15/t to €765/t.

In the south, for S275 material, re-rollers were heard quoting €740-750/t to small customers, with €720-730/t possible for larger volumes. The market remained split between suppliers willing to drop to the low €700s/t to collect orders, and others that preferred to remain firm at €740-750/t and wait for after the Easter holidays to see how the market develops. Two re-rollers confirmed this week that they are mulling extending their Easter break by a few days owing to weak purchasing activity in the market. The level of €710/t ex-works for S275 was also reported available for orders of 1,000t and above, but this could not be verified.

Buying activity over the past two weeks remained poor, as market participants are purchasing what they need with no restocking activity occurring. A slight drop in slab prices has contributed to lower plate prices. Deliveries for the Italian domestic market remain for late April for commodity grades.

To the rest of Europe, Italian producers were heard offering around €750/t on a ex-works basis for S235 material, without collecting any tonnage. One source said there were offers as high as €760-770/t ex-works Italy.

In northern Europe, one mill was reported concluding sales to end-users working in the shipbuilding industry at €750-770 ex-works for S355 grades. The same producer tabled offers at around €780/t, but was quick to offer discounts. Orders from the supplier are expected to be delivered in six to seven weeks. One source estimated that for S235, integrated mills would be offering close to €780-800/t ex-works, while from re-rollers located in the Benelux area €750/t ex-works for the same grade could be easily achieved. One central European mill was also heard available to sell at €790-810/t ex-works for S235. Producers in the northwest are operating on April to May delivery depending on the mill and the product requested. Market participants agree that a rebound in market activity is only expected towards the latter part of April.

On imports, over the past couple of weeks, Indonesian material was purchased by buyers across the continent, especially in southern Europe at €640/t cif levels for S275. One source estimated that sales from Indonesia totalled close to 60,000t over the past month. After this activity, Indonesian material was not reported available over the past seven days. One deal was also concluded this week at €710/t cfr north EU, for South Korean S355 material.

From South Korea, offers for S275 were estimated over the €660/t cif Italy level this week, with no deals concluded. Indian material was offered at $710-720/t cfr Italy for S275, while one trader offered the same origin from port, free on truck at €730/t for S355.


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