The Stainless Monthly Metals Index (MMI) decreased by 3.8% for this month’s index value, as U.S. stainless imports surged last month.
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U.S. stainless imports rise 76%
The U.S. Department of Commerce reported the U.S. imported a total of 91,600 metric tons of all stainless products during September.
The September total marked a 76% year-over-year increase. In addition, the September total marked a 42% increase from the 2019 average of 64,600 metric tons.
The higher-than-usual import total is in line with the unexpected demand increase in major appliances, which use stainless steel sheets.
The U.S. market has a shortage in most appliances. This is due to customers storing larger amounts of food, plus shutdowns or personnel reduction manufacturers undertook for a few months. Additionally, manufacturers did not ramp up production to full capacity due to economic uncertainty.
These circumstances created a production backlog that might last well into 2021 and kickstart demand for stainless steel.
However, not all stainless products have recovered.
Outokumpu announced its intention to scale down its long products business, which includes wire rod, wire, bar, rebar and semi-finished long products.
The decision comes after the business made small net sales and negative adjusted EBITDAs. The scaledown measures include: personnel reduction, increasing operational efficiency and focusing on higher-value specialty grades.
E.U. imposes tariffs
Earlier we touched on U.S. stainless imports, which posted significant gains in September.
Meanwhile, the European Commission decided to impose import duties on hot-rolled stainless steel coil and sheets from China, Indonesia and Taiwan.
The tariffs from China are up to 19%. Meanwhile, they go up to 17.3% for Indonesian products and up to 7.5% from Taiwan. The tariffs kicked in Oct. 8.
The Commission made the decision after conducting an investigation. The probe ultimately determined the products were sold at artificially low prices, hurting producers from Belgium, Italy and Finland.