The Stainless Steel Monthly Metals Index (MMI) jumped seven points this month to 68, translating into an 11.5% increase, the largest monthly increase registered by the MMI since the 10.95% increase in September 2017.
LME nickel prices surged in early in 2019 after a seven-month downward trend and gained momentum during the second half of January and into early February.
Nickel hit a resistance point at around $13,000/mt when daily volume turned negative again. This price point is significant; once the price broke through this psychological price point last year, $13,000/mt became the support price until strong downward pressure hit prices in early September 2018.
Domestic Stainless Steel Market
Weakness in the index came from falling surcharges in the basket of tracked stainless steel metals for both 304/304L-Coil and 316/316L-Coil. Why did surcharges fall? The iron ore elemental value fell more than the rising nickel prices.
What This Means for Industrial Buyers
This month the MetalMiner IndX trended upward due to higher global nickel prices, despite falling surcharges.
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Actual Stainless Steel Prices and Trends
Most of the metals tracked in the Stainless Steel MMI’s basket increased this month; however, nickel drove the trend with double-digit price increases tracked for all three prices in the index.
The LME primary three-month price increased 16.08%. Chinese prices increased 14.76%, and Indian prices increased 17.39%.
The stainless steel 316 CR coil price for China increased 6.57%. U.S. 316 and 304 Allegheny Ludlum surcharges decreased this month by 1.92% and 0.33%, respectively.