Stainless, Nickel Price Outlook 2014: Indonesia Export Ban Only Hope?

stainless steel nickel price index chart october 2013

The monthly Stainless MMI®, tracking global stainless steel, nickel and ferroalloy prices, continues to act as the poorest performing of the major industrial metal indexes tracked by MetalMiner. October’s index fell by two points, to 79. Weak nickel prices continue to hamper this complex.

Compare with last month’s trends – here’s our free September MMI® Report.

“I wish we had a different story to tell for stainless steel,” said Lisa Reisman, managing director MetalMiner. “Even if stainless demand notches up a bit in major markets such as China, the US and Europe, the market remains in an oversupply situation, both for stainless as well as nickel.”

Major Nickel Oversupply Issues

The International Nickel Study Group (INSG) forecast just last Thursday that nickel producers face a global surplus of 140,000 metric tons this year due to disappointing demand and new production projects, as reported by Reuters.

Global demand from the rest of the world, excluding China and India (where usage was still on the high side), has been middling at best.

Nickel, Stainless Price Outlook

The only price risk to the upside that we can see involves the Indonesian export ban of nickel ore scheduled to go into effect in January 2014. If that ban actually limits exports, we could see some nickel price support and it could come swiftly. MetalMiner now forecasts nickel prices – check it out.

However, we don’t anticipate any major changes in the demand equation to support stainless prices in the near term.

Compare with last month’s trends – here’s our free September MMI® Report.

Key Price Drivers of Stainless/Nickel Index

The Allegheny Ludlum 304 stainless surcharge finished the month after dropping 1.5 percent. The Allegheny Ludlum 316 stainless surcharge fell a slight 1.2 percent over the past month.

* Get the complete prices every day on the MetalMiner IndX℠

Chinese primary nickel prices fell 5.9 percent after rising the previous month. On the LME, the 3-month price of nickel dropped 6.4 percent over the past month to $13,930 per metric ton.

The Chinese ferro-chrome price was up only mere pennies.

Chinese 304 stainless steel scrap was up marginally for US-based buyers. Prices for Chinese 316 stainless steel scrap increased marginally as well. Chinese 304 stainless coil ticked up a tiny bit. Chinese 316 stainless coil also ticked up a bit.

Don’t forget to read September 2013 MMI analysis before October’s full report comes out soon!


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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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