AK Steel Raises Stainless Steel Prices as Nickel Costs Climb, BHP Billiton Eager to Sell

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Rising 3 percent the cash price of primary Indian nickel saw the largest increase on the weekly Stainless MMI® this week. The nickel 3-month price rose 1.8 percent on the LME over the past week to $15,765 per metric ton. The nickel spot price rose 1.7 percent on the LME over the past week to $15,720 per metric ton.

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As demand for stainless steel remains strong, AK Steel announced this week that it will increase prices for all of its stainless steel products, effective with shipments on April 1, 2014. Indonesia’s January export ban on nickel ore has still not been eliminated stockpiles that many stainless manufacturers have built up but the looming ore shortage is having an effect. In Australia, BHP Billiton has put out feelers on a sale of its West Australian nickel business, valued at up to $1 billion to take advantage of the interest in rising nickel prices. The Indonesian ban is an attempt to compel more value-adding to Indonesia’s mineral exports through the development of onshore processing operations.

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More prices: Chinese stainless steel prices were mixed for the week. The price of Chinese ferro-chrome did not change since the previous week. The week finished with no movement for Chinese ferro-moly.

The price of Chinese primary nickel ticked up 1.2 percent over the past week. Chinese 304 stainless steel scrap prices held steady from the previous week. Prices for Chinese 316 stainless steel scrap remained constant. Closing, Chinese 304 stainless coil remained unchanged for the week. Chinese 316 stainless coil remained essentially flat from the previous week.

Korean 430 stainless steel coil traded sideways last week, hovering around in a short range. Following a steady week, prices for Korean 304 stainless coil closed flat.

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. 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.