The monthly Stainless MMI® registered a value of 94 in December, an increase of 4.4 percent from 90 in November.
MetalMiner’s monthly stainless index jumped four points, tied with the aluminum index for largest upward jump. Nearly 100 percent of the price improvement for the stainless index came from rising nickel prices on the LME (up nearly 6 percent), as well as rising nickel prices in China (up more than 7 percent). US stainless steel surcharges did not, however, keep pace and dropped over 8 percent for 316 stainless and nearly 8 percent for 304 stainless.
“Despite some uncertainty on the macroeconomic side of things due to the fiscal cliff, and subsequent tight management of inventory, demand for stainless products appears solid,” said Lisa Reisman managing editor of MetalMiner.
“We see rising consumer confidence and some nice upward trend lines for durable goods, including a big 9.2 percent jump in new orders in September,” Reisman continued.
We suspect stainless surcharges will also move up if demand continues to improve.
Drivers of the Stainless Price Index Increase
The price of Chinese primary nickel rose to CNY 125,200 ($20,098) per metric ton after falling the previous month. After dropping the previous month, the nickel 3-month price prices rose on the LME to $17,225 per metric ton. Chinese 304 stainless coil saw its price rise 0.7 percent to CNY 18,100 ($2,905) per metric ton. Finishing the month at CNY 18,100 ($2,905) per metric ton, Chinese 304 stainless steel scrap recorded a 0.7 percent increase.
The price of Chinese 316 stainless coil fell 3.4 percent over the past month to CNY 27,000 ($4,334) per metric ton, the second straight month of declines. At CNY 16,500 ($2,649) per metric ton, the price of Chinese 316 stainless steel scrap finished the month 0.5 percent lower. This was the second straight month of declines.
Allegheny Ludlum 304 stainless surcharge prices dropped 7.9 percent to $0.73 per pound. Allegheny Ludlum 316 stainless surcharge prices fell 7.7 percent to $1.03 per pound after rising 2.8 percent the previous month.
The price of Chinese ferro-chrome ended up at CNY 8,300 ($1,332) per metric ton. Chinese ferro-moly registered a price of CNY 145,000 ($23,276) per metric ton. The price of Korean 304 stainless coil hit KRW 4.2 million ($3,881) per metric ton. The price of Korean 430 stainless steel coil held its own at KRW 2.6 million ($2,376) per metric ton.
The Stainless MMI® collects and weights 14 global stainless steel and raw material price points to provide a unique view into stainless steel price trends over a 30-day period. For more information on the Stainless MMI®, how it’s calculated or how your company can use the index, please drop us a note at: info (at) agmetalminer (dot) com.