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European domestic plate prices stable, import slow - 11 April 2012

European domestic commercial plate prices are steady as producers for the moment have decided to abandon the possibilities of new increases due to poor demand, while import prices have increased slightly as the dollar has strengthened, market sources told Platts Steel Business Briefing.

Northern European prices from mills for S235 plate are €640-650/tonne ($838-851/t) base ex-works for June delivery. In Southern and Eastern Europe producers are reported to be at the moment quite competitive with S235 quoted at €600-610/t ex-works.

“Demand is still bad… In the face of quiet demand, we can’t ask for new increases. But because margins are low, we can’t drop our prices either”, a southern European producer said.

“Southern European producers are very competitive … they sell here at €640/t delivered, so that it is difficult for us to increase our commodity grade plate [prices]”, a German producer said. “But we are doing well for higher grades. For these grades margins are better and because we are nearly fully booked for May we aren’t accepting orders at prices that we consider low”, he added.

Importing of commercial grades from third countries remains slow because the delivery lead-times are reported to be too long compared with domestic European producers. “Plate buyers prefer to buy from domestic market, even if it costs them a few more euros. Traders buy from China or India, but there aren’t too many concluded deals even from them”, a trader said.

Heavy plate offers from third countries increased slightly by €5/t on the back of the dollar trend. Offers by Indian producers are reported to be at €560-565/t cfr for end-June/July arrival.

 

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