European Stainless Distributors Fear Higher Surcharges

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stainless steel tanks

European stainless steel distributors have held back from placing large orders this year as they fear a further decline in surcharges in the months ahead, Germany-based service center Damstahl told Platts Tuesday.

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Distributors will likely continue to purchase material on a hand-to-mouth basis until they think raw material prices have bottomed out, which might happen in February, Damstahl said in the Platts interview.

European stainless steel mills are cautiously optimistic for 2015 on the back of more positive PMI data, and also expect anti-dumping duties against Chinese and Taiwanese cold rolled imports to improve the market outlook, it said.

“This could have a major positive impact on the European mills for their 2015 results,” Damstahl said.

The nickel spot price closed up Monday, February 9 at $14,960 per metric ton, halting two days of weakening prices on the LME with a 0.9% shift. The nickel 3-month price rose 0.7% on the LME to $15,000 per metric ton after a two-day drop. The cash price of primary Indian nickel rose 0.6% to INR 945.10 ($15.25) per kilogram.

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Chinese stainless steel prices were flat for the day. For the fifth day in a row, the price of Chinese ferro-chrome remained essentially flat at CNY 10,950 ($1,755) per metric ton. For the fifth consecutive day, the price of Chinese ferro-moly held flat at CNY 82,000 ($13,139) per metric ton.

The Allegheny Ludlum 316 stainless surcharge was unchanged at $0.94 per pound. The price of Chinese 316 stainless coil continues hovering around CNY 23,700 ($3,797) per metric ton for the fifth day in a row. The price of Chinese 304 stainless coil remained essentially flat at CNY 16,700 ($2,676) per metric ton. Chinese 316 stainless steel scrap saw little change in its price on Monday at CNY 13,050 ($2,091) per metric ton. The price of Chinese 304 stainless steel scrap remained steady at CNY 9,450 ($1,514) per metric ton.

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