Stainless steel business activity is at a low levels in Europe. With alloy surcharges falling in December and set to rise in January, some speculative purchasing may have been expected, but sales volumes have been disappointing and, in some countries, coil basis values have slipped.
While low oil prices have boosted consumer spending, they have had a seriously negative effect on exploration investment, particularly in the UK and Norway Scrap Register reported.
European mills are likely to seek basis price increases in the first quarter of 2015, if not in January.
The nickel spot price saw the biggest decline of the day, dropping 1.3% on the LME to close at $15,300 per metric ton on Monday, December 22. On the LME, the nickel 3-month price fell 1.0% to $15,350 per metric ton. The cash price of primary Indian nickel declined 0.2% to INR 996.20 ($15.73) per kilogram.
Chinese stainless steel closed mixed on Monday. For the fifth consecutive day, the price of Chinese ferro-chrome held flat at CNY 10,950 ($1,760) per metric ton. The price of Chinese ferro-moly held steady at CNY 90,000 ($14,469) per metric ton.
Following a 0.7% rise on Monday, the price of Chinese primary nickel closed at CNY 110,400 ($17,749) per metric ton. For the fifth day in a row, the Allegheny Ludlum 316 stainless surcharge remained essentially flat at $0.97 per pound. The price of Chinese 316 stainless coil was unchanged at CNY 23,700 ($3,810) per metric ton. The price of Chinese 304 stainless coil remained essentially flat at CNY 17,750 ($2,854) per metric ton. The price of Chinese 316 stainless steel scrap continues hovering around CNY 13,350 ($2,146) per metric ton for the fifth day in a row.