stainless steel price

The Stainless Monthly Metals Index (MMI) fell 6.0% this month.

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Sporadic reports of mine closures and special working arrangements have gathered momentum during March and into April, in some cases sparking fears of ore supply shortages.

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Few places have had quite the profound impact that closures in South Africa have caused.

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The Stainless Steel Monthly Metals Index (MMI) declined by three points this month to 67, following a five-point decline last month.

LME nickel prices continued to slide as global markets reacted to production delays due to coronavirus, which weakened demand and prices.

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The Stainless Steel Monthly Metals Index (MMI) gave up five points this month, setting the value back to 70.

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LME nickel prices dropped slightly below the $13,000/mt price level in late January when industrial metals prices, generally speaking, declined as markets reacted to China’s coronavirus situation.

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We all love conspiracy stories — who knew what and who was manipulating events behind the scenes?

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A recent Telegraph article takes a more balanced approach to review goings-on at the London Metal Exchange (LME) amid accusations that have been leveled against some major market players that they were instrumental, or at least complicit, in the manipulation of the nickel market last year.

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Another victim of China’s coronavirus epidemic could well be the iron ore price.

Iron ore had a stellar 2019, reaching a five-year high of $125 per ton in July on the back of Vale SA’s Brumadinho mining dam disaster and Cyclone Veronica, which struck Western Australia in March.

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Since then, the price has fallen back to just over $78 per ton in December and is currently trading around $90 per ton in Singapore — still well above prices this time last year.

Supply disruption was met with rising demand. China produced nearly 1 billion tons of steel in 2019 and consumed an estimated 875 million tons, spurred by stimulus-supported infrastructure spending and consumption from the construction market.

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U.S. steel imports through the first 11 months of 2019 were down 17% compared with the same period in 2018, according to preliminary U.S. Census Bureau data.

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Imports through the first 11 months of 2019 reached 23.9 millions tons, down from 28.9 million tons from January-November 2018.

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Before we head into the weekend, let’s take a look back at the week that was and some of the metals coverage here on MetalMiner, including: steel prices, commodities markets, precious metals, the U.S.-China Phase One trade deal and the Senate’s approval of the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement.

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This morning in metals news, aluminum maker Alcoa released its financial results for Q4 and 2019, an Ohio steel plant touts investment that it says will bring new jobs and a Pittsburgh-based metals manufacturer says it will have to close a facility unless it wins a steel tariff exemption.

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Alcoa releases quarterly financials

Aluminum maker Alcoa reported a net loss of $303 million ($57 million excluding special items) in Q4 2019.

Fourth-quarter revenue came in at $2.4 billion, down from $2.6 billion the previous quarter and $3.3 billion in Q4 2018.

“In 2019, we acted to further strengthen Alcoa, completing the divestiture of uncompetitive assets, modernizing labor agreements in three countries, implementing a new operating model, and making quick progress on the asset review process we announced last quarter,” Alcoa President and CEO Roy Harvey said.

“While the market in alumina and aluminum challenged us, we maintained a strong cash balance of nearly $900 million and drove operational stability,” Harvey said. “Also, our low-cost, top-tier bauxite and alumina segments both set new annual production records based on our current portfolio.”

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This morning in metals news, a Chinese firm is poised to take over the insolvent British Steel, Chinese iron ore futures were down Monday and speakers at a recent convention in Budapest weighed in on the stainless steel market.

Jingye to Buy British Steel

After talks with Turkey’s Ataer Holding fell apart, Chinese firm Jingye Steel has reportedly signed a deal to rescue British Steel, the BBC reported.

British Steel was put into forced liquidation in May, setting off a bidding process for the ailing steelmaker.

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According to the BBC, Jingye plans to £1.2 billion in British Steel.

The deal is pending and still requires regulatory approval, according to a statement by the Official Receiver.

“Completion of the contract is conditional on a number of matters, including gaining the necessary regulatory approvals,” the Official Receiver said. “The parties are working together to conclude a sale as soon as reasonably practicable.

“The business will continue to trade as normal during the period between exchange and completion. Support from employees, suppliers and customers since the liquidation has been a critical factor in achieving this outcome.”

Chinese Iron Ore Futures Slide

According to Reuters, Chinese iron ore futures fell by as much as 3.1% on Monday.

The most-traded iron ore futures contract on the Dalian Commodity Exchange fell 2.1% to 594 yuan ($84.93) per ton.

Rising Nickel, Falling Stainless Steel

At the recent BIR World Recycling Convention Round-Table Sessions held in Budapest, speakers delved into the seemingly curious current relationship between nickel prices and stainless steel values.

According to Natalie Scott-Gray, senior metals demand analyst at INTL FCStone, stainless steel production is forecast to rise 2% this year, with demand projected to rise 16% over the next five years, Recycling Today reported.

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Another guest speaker at the event, Olivier Masson, said the stainless steel market is going through a “relatively soft patch,” partially impacted by a shift in trading patterns as a result of the U.S.’s Section 232 tariffs and China’s exports of hot-rolled material, according to the Recycling Today report.