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Home > MEPS Steel News - 30.08.2013


The movement in MEPS world average stainless steel prices has been negative over the past twelve months. After bottoming out in August 2012, transaction values followed an upward trend for the remainder of the year, before peaking in January. Since then, selling numbers have fallen steadily. The price for grade 304 cold rolled coil this month is around 12 percent lower than the figure one year ago.

Basis values, where applicable, have recorded relatively small variations, as they remain close to the producers’ breakeven figures. The EU cold rolled coil, type 316, basis price has decreased by only 2.2 percent, year-on-year. During the same period, with values for nickel, chromium and molybdenum all falling, alloy surcharges for grade 316 have been cut by more than 25 percent.

In most of the world’s major stainless steel markets, demand has remained below pre-crisis levels and oversupply persists. Nevertheless, MEPS forecast a new record global crude stainless steel output of 36.4 million tonnes, for the calendar year 2013. While there will be little or no growth in many of the established stainless steel producing countries, the outturn in China is expected to increase by around 7 percent, this year. China’s continued expansion, of course, affects the supply/demand balance in the region. South Korea and Taiwan are forecast to produce less crude stainless steel, in 2013, than they did in the previous twelve month period.

Transaction values in Asia are predicted to rise slowly, mirroring the cost of raw materials, particularly nickel, until the second quarter of next year. Stainless steel prices are forecast to reach a high point in April 2014, before softening again.

Although values are predicted to rise between now and the middle of 2014, the average prices of all of the three main alloying metals – nickel, chromium and molybdenum - are forecast to be lower over the next twelve months than they have been during the last year.

European prices, having reached a low point this month, are expected to follow an upward trend during the next two quarters. Transaction values for austenitic cold rolled coils are anticipated to reach a maximum value in April or May 2014, before softening towards the summer.

Effective selling values in North America are predicted to rise, starting in September. Reduced discounts on the mills’ list prices will combine with a steady rise in alloy surcharges, in the coming months, to achieve peak transaction figures around May of next year. Prices will then subside as the summer holiday season approaches.

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