STAINLESS STEEL PRICES
FORECAST TO RISE IN EARLY 2015
Stainless steel business activity is,
generally, at a low level, in Europe. With alloy surcharges falling
in December and set to rise in January, some speculative purchasing
may have been expected, this month. In fact, sales volumes have been
disappointing and, in some countries, coil basis values have
While low oil prices have boosted consumer spending, they have had a
seriously negative effect on exploration investment, particularly in
the UK and Norway.
European mills are likely to seek basis price increases in the first
quarter of 2015, if not in January. Producers and traders are
hopeful of increased tonnages next year but there is a widely held
belief that volumes will be similar to those in 2014.
Impending antidumping measures are limiting European demand for coil
from Taiwan and China. This has combined with the strong US dollar
to make the United States a more attractive market to Asian
The US economy is strengthening. There is growing stainless steel
sales activity and longer delivery lead times, especially for cold
rolled coil. However, there has been no positive movement in coil
basis values, even as the alloy surcharge has slipped.
Asia continues to record slowing growth and has a substantial
surplus in stainless steelmaking capacity. Producers have supported
prices by limiting their output, in recent months. Business activity
is expected to remain at a relatively low level until after the
Lunar New Year holidays.
Nickel values are forecast to rise, moderately, in 2015. China’s
output of nickel pig iron is set to decrease as its stockpiles of
Indonesian laterite ore become depleted. Inventories are currently
estimated at about 7 million tonnes and material is being consumed
at around one million tonnes per month. This will be exacerbated, in
the short term, by a slowing of the supply of ore from the
Philippines, due to seasonal weather conditions.
In the longer term, global supply and demand for nickel are
predicted to be in balance in 2015, with increasing year-on-year
deficits thereafter, as output from new nickel production facilities
fails to match the growth in demand.
Source: MEPS -
Review - December Issue
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