The monthly Stainless MMI® registered a value of 81 in February, a decrease of 3.6% from 84 in January.
It’s been a rather quiet month for US stainless buyers, without much happening of real importance. There has been more movement for Indian stainless companies than other producers as excess steel capacity in China and other countries is leading to dumping there and the industry has lobbied India’s government to increase import duties on TMT/rebar, hot rolled coils as well as stainless steel to 10% from 7.5%.
Nickel is the main driver of stainless steel prices and saw little price movement in January and nothing has really changed from last month.
Favorable supply/demand fundamentals are helping the metal to hold its price relatively well since November. But on the other hand, it’s hard to imagine this metal significantly rising while commodities keep falling, the dollar rises and other base metals keep getting hit.
What This Means For Metal Buyers
The outlook for nickel seems mixed. Buyers might want to wait and watch the market closely until nickel’s direction looks clearer. There are some key price levels that buyers should be watching to know what actions to take depending on how things unfold from now.
Chinese ferro-moly prices dropped by 8.9% this month to $13,096 per metric ton. Allegheny Ludlum 316 stainless surcharge prices fell 6.7% to $0.94 per pound after rising the previous month. After rising the previous month, Chinese 304 stainless steel scrap prices dropped 5.1% to $1,493 per metric ton. At $2,667 per metric ton, Chinese 304 stainless coil was down 4.6% for the month. Chinese 316 stainless steel scrap prices decreased by 3.0% this month, ending at $2,068 per metric ton. At $14,800 per metric ton, the nickel 3-month price was down 0.8% on the LME. With a 0.5% decline on the LME, the nickel spot price closed the month at $14,780 per metric ton.
The price of Chinese primary nickel rose 0.7% to $17,488 per metric ton after falling the previous month.
At a price of $1,749 per metric ton, Chinese ferro-chrome did not budge the entire month. Prices for Chinese 316 stainless coil remained constant this past month, holding at around $3,785 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.