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Home > MEPS News- 02.10.2018
Global Stainless Steel Trade Plagued by Quotas

The introduction, by the United States government, of quotas and tariffs, arising from their Section 232 investigations, reduced the flow of imported stainless steel into the country. Moreover, it enabled domestic producers to steadily lift their prices. As alloy surcharges rose, US mills also raised their basis figures, for grade 304 cold rolled coil, by US$200 per tonne, or 16 percent, between January and July 2018. This contributed to an increase of US$680 per tonne, or 28 percent, in transaction values, over the same period. Buyers, however, considered that this trend went too far. As alloy surcharges have softened, in the past two months, basis figures have also been reduced, resulting in a cut of US$265 per tonne, or 8.5 percent, in effective prices.

European mills, in contrast, were unable to supplement the rise in alloy surcharges with basis price hikes. Indeed, while alloy extras for austenitic coils climbed, during the first half of this year, basis values moved, steadily, in the opposite direction. In recent months, many market participants resorted to making deals using “effective prices,” as the difference between the alloy surcharge and the total transaction value ceased to represent a viable basis price.

The EU’s temporary safeguarding quotas were aimed at preventing material, previously destined for the United States, from being diverted into the European market. While the quota for stainless steel coils has, almost certainly, averted a glut of third country material, buyers believe that they will be able to secure all their requirements, between now and February 2019, within the allowed import tonnage.

Distributors of stainless steel bars, however, estimate that the quota for that product will be exhausted by December 2018. This demonstrates the upward trend in sourcing bars from overseas – notably, from India. Many buyers will now wait until the introduction of more permanent measures, before placing further import orders.

Source: MEPS - Stainless Steel Review  - September 2018 Edition

Also See: EU - Stainless Steel Price Table

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