The Stainless Monthly Metals Index (MMI) rose by 1.8% month over month.
Although nickel edged up slowly in price, it squeezed into a wedge that is susceptible to big time frame resistance. Prices continue to consolidate within an October-November 2021 high-low price range.
A continuation to the upside with more volume from the bulls could push prices even further. Lower volume, however, could lead to price breakdowns in Q1 2022.
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A&T Stainless petitions for tariff exclusion
U.S. flat-rolled stainless supply is expected to be constrained in 2022.
However, there may be some light at the end of the tunnel.
A&T Stainless, the joint venture between Allegheny Technologies (ATI) and China’s Tsingshan, has filed a new petition with the U.S. Department of Commerce for a tariff exclusion to import 304L and 316L hot-band coils from Indonesia.
In May 2018, Katie Benchina Olsen, MetalMiner’s senior stainless analyst, examined whether A&T Stainless should be granted an exemption. At the time, NAS and Outokumpu argued that they could supply slab to A&T Stainless. The exemption was denied.
The 2022 market is different because NAS, Outokumpu and Cleveland-Cliffs are all full capacity and have customers on strict allocation.
Approval would advance capacity
If the exemption is granted, A&T Stainless would restart the Direct Roll Anneal and Pickle (DRAP) line in Midland, Pennsylvania. The line would produce about 20,000 tons a month of thicknesses .048″ and heavier. If the DOC approves the request, the DRAP line would take several weeks to start up.