The Stainless MMI® jumped by 5 points from January to February, making it the biggest monthly mover of all of the MMIs.
The monthly stainless steel price index, tracking prices of stainless and its raw material inputs, registered a value of 98 in February, an increase of 5.4 percent from 93 in January.
The upward movement came on the back of rising nickel prices (which also impacted surcharges) as well as price strength from stainless products in the Chinese market. Other macroeconomic indicators suggest some healthy data may underlie the stainless market.
First, the Conference Board Leading Economic Index (LEI) increased by 0.5% in December. According to the Conference Board, “domestic growth is now more likely.” Although these macroeconomic indicators do not directly correlate to the stainless market, the housing market and the market for durable goods does have a bearing on stainless prices.
As previously reported today on MetalMiner, demand for durable goods rose in December by 4.6% from November. According to the Wall Street Journal, “That was the second-highest monthly increase of 2012.” Aircraft demand, combined with defense products, may have artificially juiced the numbers.
Machinery and auto demand also increased helping boost stainless prices.
Primary Price Drivers of Stainless Index
The price of Chinese primary nickel climbed 8.1 percent on the month. The 3-month price of nickel closed the month at $18,460 per metric ton after gaining 7.6 percent on the LME. India primary nickel prices also increased on the month.
After a 2.8 percent increase, the Allegheny Ludlum 316 stainless surcharge finished the month up. The Allegheny Ludlum 304 stainless surcharge, meanwhile, held pat.
Chinese 304 stainless coil prices inched up 2.5 percent. Chinese 316 stainless coil rose 0.7 percent.
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.
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