The May Day holidays have kept European plate prices stable over the past week, despite the expectation of price declines for the flat rolled product next month, market sources told Metal Bulletin.
Hardly any business has taken place over the past week as many industry participants took time off, keeping prices in northern Europe unchanged at around €630-635 ($831-837) per tonne delivered for May production, sources said.
Low stocks among Italian end-users kept domestic plate at its cost level of €580 per tonne delivered, also unchanged from previous weeks.
“That’s the absolute lowest,” one trader said of southern European prices
Ukrainian producer Metinvest has started to pushing additional tonnages into southern Europe, however, traders have warned.
“Some people are expecting that prices will drop back to the mid-€500 range,” a second trader said, warning of the effect on southern European prices arising from the additional Ukrainian tonnage.
The decline in prices in the region could spill over into northern Europe, he added, but stability in input costs should afford European prices some protection from imports.
Imports from China and India have been lower at €540-580 per tonne cfr, though the long lead times for delivery of the flat-rolled material – as late as July – will make them unattractive, sources told Metal Bulletin.