Steel Plate prices in the North American region upsurged during the first quarter of 2023. Initially, demand picked up moderately, reflecting lower stock levels following the holiday season. Service centers reported increased customer inquiries and shipments, but few were interested in stocking up on steel products, especially with lead times not extending any further than they had. In mid-Q1, the domestic steelmakers kept prices elevated owing to the rising raw material costs. As per the buyer, major players were raising costs to compete with the import offers. In March, mills continued to raise spot market offers, but demand remained steady as buyers continued to review their order books. Lead times increased to 7-8 weeks from 6-7 weeks. Confirmed orders were agreed upon and protected until the order was completed and shipped. Therefore, prices of the Steel plate for Ex-Work Texas were assessed at USD 1702/MT on March 31.
In the first quarter of 2023, the Steel Plate prices showcased an upward momentum in the Asia- Pacific region. In January, demand picked up with a rise in downstream inquiries on the back of stabilized global inflation and China's reopening. However, China's production cuts and the Russia-Ukraine war resulted in tighter supply. Following the Spring Festival holiday, the steel market strengthened more in February, and the steel price continued to rise, signaling a promising start. Steel mills stopped production for more maintenance due to high costs, and output continued to fall, which was good for steel prices. With the arrival of the traditional peak season in March, domestic production was increased due to tight spot supply. Also, the costs of iron ore and coking coal rose due to inventory replenishment and Beijing's tightening control over crude steel production. Steel Wire Rod Prices were under a lot of cost pressure, so the ex-factory price was raised. Therefore, the price of the Steel plate for Ex Shanghai was assessed at USD 648/MT on March 31.
In the European region, the price trend of Steel Plate followed an upward price trajectory during the first quarter of 2023. The hikes in Steel Plate prices were due to increasing prices of the slab, improved demand, and short supply due to longer plate delivery times. Major manufacturers claimed that big buyers who had avoided restocking in December began to place orders in this quarter. The anticipated rise in import slab prices from Asia following the Lunar New Year holidays in China, as well as good order books at European plate producers, also contributed to the market's bullishness. Sales volumes picked up significantly due to limited inventory and higher downstream demand, and buyers were willing to pay higher prices. Some automotive steel demand revival had also contributed to the upbeat mood. Therefore, the price of the Steel plate for Ex Ruhr was assessed at USD 1165/MT on March 31.
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