The Stainless Monthly Metals Index (MMI) increased by 11.3% for this month’s index value, as stainless steel surcharges rose for a fourth consecutive month.
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Stainless steel surcharges continue to increase
Stainless alloy surcharges are rising for the fourth month in a row.
Alloy surcharges for 304 in September will be $0.6231/lb, an increase of $0.0361/lb compared to August.
Over the past month, LME nickel prices increased approximately 12%, up to $15,442/mt by the end of August.
Chinese nickel price followed a similar trend, increasing to $17,590/mt (or CNY 120,750/mt).
U.S. demand recovery
Throughout July and August, the U.S. Department of Commerce reported the U.S. imported a total of 93,600 metric tons and 88,700 metric tons of all stainless products, respectively. The totals were twice as high as the year’s bottom of 46,800 metric tons back in May. Furthermore, the totals were much higher than the 2019 average of 64,600 metric tons.
Import levels reported match the expansionary track the U.S. has seen in the past four months.
August ISM PMI data came in at 56%, up 1.8 percentage points from July. Moreover, the ISM Manufacturing New Orders index came in at 67.6% in August compared to 61.5% in July.
Auto industry outlook
Besides consumer goods, the automotive industry is another major consumer of stainless steel.
As the U.S. presidential election approaches, both candidates have expressed their desire to boost the U.S. auto industry to create jobs.
A few particular differences could impact the price of stainless steel.