STAINLESS STEEL PRICES
FORECAST TO PEAK IN APRIL
According to MEPS, April’s
austenitic stainless steel prices are predicted to represent the
peak values for 2017, in Europe and North America. Alloy surcharges
for grade 304 flat products will increase by around €50 per tonne,
in Europe, and by US$15 per tonne, in the United States, next month.
Thereafter, the reduction in the European ferrochrome contract
price, for the second quarter, will have a negative effect on
surcharges. Furthermore, LME nickel values have dipped in recent
weeks, adding to the likelihood that alloy extras will soften, for
In the Philippines, President Duterte’s support for mine closures,
on environmental grounds, has had a positive effect on nickel
commodity values. This has been counteracted by the Indonesian
government’s reversal of its ore export ban.
Nickel prices are forecast to climb above US$11,000 per tonne, in
the second half of this year, but this will be offset by a weakening
in other mill raw material costs, in the alloy surcharge
Market sentiment is positive, in Europe and North America, although
demand has eased, slightly, after a bright start to the year.
Nevertheless, basis figures are forecast to be relatively stable,
A number of factors restraining price development have been noted,
despite increasing consumption. Global overcapacity persists, in
stainless steel production facilities. Currently, suppliers have
healthy order books and delivery lead times are extending. Mills,
particularly in the West, however, are not manned to operate on a
24/7 basis and are, therefore, unable to produce at their
theoretical maximum capability.
In Europe, while antidumping duties have, effectively, removed
Chinese cold rolled coils from the market, competitively priced
imports, from Asia, are still widespread. The moderate levy on coils
from Taiwan, has not prevented sellers from offering material from
that country at prices that are attractive to European buyers. In
recent times, steel from the Indian producer, Jindal, has gained a
foothold in the EU market.
Although its material is subject to protectionist measures in many
countries, Chinese production continues to expand. This contributes
to substantial oversupply in the Far East, with the consequent
negative effect on prices.
Source: MEPS -
Review - March Issue
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