Local Metals Prices in China Showing Sudden Strong Increases

Many of our readers know that MetalMiner operates a free to use metals price reporting tool called MetalMiner IndX(SM) which reports daily on ferrous, non ferrous and precious metals prices in Asia. Although non ferrous base metal prices in China and India have tracked, and indeed in the case of China, led the wider market higher over the last six months, steel prices have remained stubbornly subdued as they have in the west. This lack of real price strength in the local metal market is one of the reasons we have challenged some of the earlier hype that the China economy was responding to stimulus with robust growth early this year. Well interestingly, the market is now moving. Steel prices for plate, sheet, bar, etc, ferro alloy prices and the price of semi finished non ferrous metals in bar and wire forms have finally showed a strong upward price movement.

Steel has shown the strongest movement. From dropping during the first quarter, to being almost flat during the second, the last two weeks of July have seen prices surge between 10 and 14% for all forms on local exchanges with plate rising nearly 16% and billet and slab around 17%. Only galvanized coil has shown more modest strength rising just 5.67%. Even stainless steel has risen in price supporting some of the Asian stainless producers more positive sentiments of late. 304 and 316 cold rolled coil have risen 13.43% and 8.62% respectively.

Perhaps the most surprising price strength has been in the ferro alloys. HC ferro manganese, a key steel ingredient, has risen 15.87%, Fe50V ferro vanadium has risen 14.29% and FeMo60 ferro moly has rocketed 32.14% in just two weeks building on a 13.8% increase the month before.

Taken across the range, this suggests a strong rebound in local market demand. Readers interested in tracking Asian local market pricing can register for access to the MetalMiner IndX(SM) free of charge by clicking the link above.

–Stuart Burns

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