Stainless Steel Coil Suppliers Hope For Recovery in 2019
Stainless steel prices – in particular, those for strip
mill products – demonstrated diverse trends, in the traditional steelmaking
regions, in 2018.
In the United States, the implementation of Section 232 quotas and tariffs,
early in 2018, had an immediate inflationary effect on stainless steel coil
selling figures. Basis values for grade 304 cold rolled coils declined during
the latter part of the year - as did alloy surcharges. However, they remain
slightly higher than they were at the beginning of 2018. Furthermore, North
American transaction prices will finish the year above the values recorded in
January, while those in Europe and Asia, generally, are down.
In Europe, as alloy surcharges soared, between February and July, transaction
values failed to keep pace. Buyers were reluctant to pay the full extent of the
increases. The majority of business, consequently, was carried out using
“effective prices,” rather than the established “basis plus alloy surcharge”
mechanism. During this period, nominal basis figures, i.e., transaction value
minus alloy surcharge, dropped to unfamiliar and, almost certainly,
The widespread belief was that, when alloy surcharges receded, effective prices
would decline less steeply, and that nominal basis values would, therefore climb
back towards “normal” figures. In fact, during the second half of 2018,
transaction values have fallen by more than the decrease in alloy extras.
Nominal basis numbers are, now, several hundred euros below the widely accepted
breakeven figure for cold rolled coil production. European producers will be
hoping for a substantial recovery in stainless steel flat products prices, to
return their operations towards profitability.
Asian prices have been much less volatile, this year, than those elsewhere in
the world. Typically, fluctuations in their selling figures are driven by
variations in raw material costs. Recently, producers attempted to maintain
stability in their local markets by minimising price alterations. In Japan,
especially, only moderate changes in market values, for 300-series cold rolled
coils, were recorded, in 2018.
Source: MEPS -
Stainless Steel Review - December 2018 Edition
Also See: EU -
Stainless Steel Price Table
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