Stainless MMI: Sub-Index Surges to Summer 2015 Levels

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The Stainless MMI shot up 7 points this month, reaching summer 2015 levels. Skyrocketing nickel prices across all markets led to the jump.

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Stainless steel surcharges have decreased for this month after increasing two consecutive months in August and September.

Source: MetalMiner data from MetalMiner IndX(™)

Stainless buying organizations will also want to review the potential impact of the latest electrode surcharge for stainless steel products.

Stainless Steel Market

Meanwhile, crude stainless steel output could hit 47.5 million tons for 2017. 2017 forecasted output would represent an increase of 3.8% compared to last year’s reading, also a record.

Domestic stainless steel output will likely have grown by 10% this year, totaling 2.75 million tons in 2017. In addition, the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) announced in October the continuation of dumping and subsidization of stainless steel flanges from China and India. The estimated dumping margins range from  99.23-257.11% for China and 78.49-145.25% for India. Moreover, mills announced higher base prices starting in November.

2017 Chinese forecasted output will likely come in lower than expected due to capacity curtailments. However, recent data point to higher production during the summer months.

LME Nickel Skyrocketing

Sharp nickel price increases will directly impact stainless steel prices.

Source: MetalMiner analysis of FastMarkets

“Volatile” best describes nickel prices this year.

Recently, nickel prices rallied over the previous peak. MetalMiner pegged $12,380/mt as the upper level limit for nickel prices. However, nickel prices closed October over that level, with sharp increases in both prices and volumes. The latest price movement bolstered the nickel rally after the price pullback in September.

What This Means for Industrial Buyers

Stainless steel momentum may have taken a breather, just as all the other forms of steel did.

However, stainless steel prices appear to have additional momentum triggered by strong demand.

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To read more about longer term stainless steel price trends, download the free Annual Outlook.

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Actual Stainless Steel Prices and Trends

Chinese 304 stainless steel coil prices jumped 4%, while Chinese 316 stainless steel cold prices increased by just 3%. Chinese FerroChrome prices decreased by 13.2%, to $2,027/mt. Nickel prices climbed 16.5% this month, reaching $12,409/mt.

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