For the Quarter Ending June 2023
As the weakening state of the economy was cited as the primary explanation, the price of Chequered Plates showed a decreasing tendency. The second quarter saw a decrease in the US economy because of the nationwide failure of large banks, which sparked a debt crisis. The market attitude became negative because of rising interest rates and inflation. The slumping economy decreased consumers' purchasing power and increased local Stainless Steel inventory levels. Chequered Plates prices increased steadily in the first half of 2002 as the price of feedstock nickel recovered. The US mills maintained a high base price, and the addition of the alloy fee led to an increased price trend in the US spot market. As consumption from the downstream automotive industry continued to be on the lower end, the market situation deteriorated in the second half of the quarter. Customers' ability to purchase decreased as inflation increased, which resulted in the sale of fewer automobiles. The demand for Chequered Plates decreased because of the labor crisis in the USA, which encouraged a slower pace of activity in the building industry. The price of feedstock commodities like iron ore and NPI in the international and US spot markets decreased because of the overseas Chinese Stimulus wagers. Large orders were not being placed by the purchasers, which led the nearby mills to lower their offer prices.
In the second quarter of 2023, the cost of Chequered Plates decreased in the Chinese market. Price increases were made in April in response to rising feedstock Nickel costs during the first portion of the second quarter. The market was favorable, and the stainless-steel production facilities were making money. Increasing money on the Chinese market and a drop in feedstock nickel inventories both contributed to the upbeat market mood that supported price growth. The price of discarded stainless steel was rising, giving the nearby Chinese factories a greater market. The pricing trend for Chequered Plates fell in the second quarter's H2 and eventually started to decline. A sour market attitude for Chequered Plates was formed in May because of the macroeconomic aspect relating to the growing inflation rate and the economic unpredictability. As the Liyang Stainless Steel mill intended to boost its billet production capacity, the production rate in the stainless-steel mills was high. The Chinese spot market saw less building activity because of the country's unstable economy and regional vacations. The Chinese government used a number of stimuli at the conclusion of the quarter to improve their economic status. As the market attitude became unsteady, the consumers were reluctant to make significant orders, which drove the local mills to lower their offer price for Chequered Plates throughout China.
In the second quarter, the price of European Chequered Plates fell as the downstream construction and car industries displayed a negative market attitude. Germany's economy deteriorated as the country entered a recession. The struggling economy had a negative impact on downstream building activity across the German spot market. A negative market mood was produced by the escalating inflation rate and rising raw material costs for new buildings. The worker's groups staged a demonstration in front of the Belgian headquarters, emphasizing the issue of equal pay since the employees hired by the local contracting businesses were paid less, and the labor shortage grew to be a significant issue. They urged the launch of a coordinated hiring process for personnel across the board in the construction and building sectors. Additionally, the German spot market suffered from the downstream automotive industry's closure of major plants across Europe by major automakers like Nissan and Kia as sales of vehicles plummeted in Germany due to the weakening German economy, which also reduced customer purchasing power. As the market attitude became unsteady, the clients were reluctant to make significant orders, which drove the local mills to lower their offer price for Chequered Plates throughout Germany.
For the Quarter Ending March 2023
In the US market, Chequered Plate prices increased in the third quarter of 2023 due to stagnant demand amidst turmoil in the banking sector. Since mid-October, plant utilization rates remained below 75%, and low service center inventories and high raw material prices contributed to higher prices of finished steel. Mills received higher prices on the spot market, causing an increase in steel goods' spot prices. Service centers were cautious when adding inventory as future prices were uncertain. Nucor Brandenberg's new mill appeared to be a few months away from reaching full output. Congested port handling rates caused cargo handling rates to rise. The market was still digesting price increases from last month, and the reduction in mill production caused by weak downstream industry demand led to higher prices. Inflationary cost increases impacted almost all segments, forcing participants in the market to adjust their pricing. The US steelmakers continued to be unable to meet the market's demand, which helped keep steel prices stable. Domestic steel mills underwent extensive maintenance in 2023, worsening the supply shortage situation. As a ripple effect, the SS Chequered Plate (6 mm) prices for Ex Texas (USA) settled at USD 4568/MT.
In the first quarter of 2023, Chinese Chequered Plate prices decreased due to falling Nickel costs and a slowdown in demand from the construction and automotive industries. Following the Spring Festival holiday, sales of Chequered Plate slowed down, and there was no apparent consumption of spot resources. Market players were on vacation during the Chinese New Year Holidays, and despite the delivery of large factory resources, they were not picked up, resulting in resource accumulation. With the resumption of production at large steel plants, downstream demand gradually increased, but inventory levels started to rise, and pressure from the steel mill eroded cost support for raw materials and ferronickel. Domestic mills reduced production due to low prices, which failed to curb the price decline. Market pessimism was strong, and the profit margin of the industry chain was squeezed. Domestic iron plants were unable to accept low prices due to production losses, and most of them implemented production reduction plans. As a ripple effect, the SS Chequered Plate (304-6 mm) prices for Ex Tangshan settled at USD 2475/MT.
During the first quarter of 2023, Chequered Plate prices in the European market remained stagnant due to various factors, including rising slab prices, increased demand, and longer plate delivery times. Spot distributors accepted the price increase, but larger buyers were willing to pay higher prices for April-June plates. However, larger distributors were hesitant to commit to deals due to longer lead times, and German mills had fewer volumes for spot purchasers due to strong order books with projects. Heavy plate availability was constrained due to strong order books in Germany and Italy, a stronger emphasis on projects and long-term agreements over the spot market by German mills, and decreased production in Central Europe. Despite strong consumer demand, margins throughout the value chain decreased. Limited domestic supply and steady demand supported domestic prices, and buyers remained cautious about long lead times and hyped-up prices after the latest price rises earlier this month. Thus, the SS Chequered Plate (304-5mm) prices for Ex Ruhr settled at USD 3740/MT.
For the Quarter Ending December 2022
In the final quarter of 2022, the prices of chequered plates declined in the US market as demand for flat-rolled products was deteriorating, and mills struggled to maintain balance while reducing output. Mills successfully kept the majority of transactions at the higher end of the spectrum. Due to mill outages, weak demand, and pressured export prices, the domestic steel market in the United States appeared to be moving further away from recovery. Bearish sentiment in the global market resulted from decreasing production volumes, sharply falling prices in the major export destination, and low demand for stainless steel (flats) in Turkey and the United States, which prevented costs from rising. With falling scrap prices, US Stainless Steel mills had tried to remain competitive with import offers as downstream demand from new projects had not warranted additional spot buys or bookings of more significant imports, along with rising financing costs. Steelmakers and some service centers believe the market was finally approaching an absolute bottom in ending the fourth quarter. As a ripple effect, the SS Chequered Plate (6 mm) prices for FOB Port of TX City (USA) settled at USD 4610/MT in mid-Q4 2022.
Chequered plate prices in China fell in the fourth quarter of 2022 due to declining demand dynamics and rising COVID infection. In October, the price of chequered sheets rose slightly. Following National Day, the arrival of Chequered sheets in the market was not as anticipated, and some specifications were in short supply. Furthermore, raw material supply was an issue. According to buyers, there was no discernible improvement in demand, and buyers' willingness to purchase in the downstream market was low. In mid-Q4, epidemic prevention and control measures were tightened in some areas, and logistics and transportation were disrupted. Near the end of the quarter, some merchants offered discounts. However, there was little availability of Chequered Plate inventory at the time. Downstream enterprises had reduced their inventory pressure due to the capital flow. Furthermore, domestic and export sales were significantly lower this year compared to previous years. As a result, the November Ex Tangshan (China) SS Chequered Plate (304-6 mm) prices were fixed at USD 2821/MT.
Chequered Plate prices in the European market plunged in the fourth quarter of 2022 due to a declining demand outlook and rising energy prices. Buyers who ordered Chequered Plate for December delivery said it was already available on the market, with lead times from several mills as low as two weeks in October. The market for European chequered plates reopened in the mid-fourth quarter. After a long period of inactivity during which Chequered Plate prices fell and buyers purchased in small quantities, European demand for Chequered Plates resumed in November. Buyer demand had increased while producers in Europe and around the world were shutting down plants due to high energy costs. Buyers asserted that terminal demand had remained largely stable, and distributors began restocking in November, indicating that inventories had been depleted. However, no large cargoes were involved in the restocking, and increased distributor demand not affected prices. Even for the first half of the year, actual demand will remain current until 2023. One European mill was planning extra melting in December ahead of a significant shutdown in March. As a result, the SS Chequered Plate (304-5mm) Ex Ruhr (Germany) was settled in November at USD 3727/MT.
During the third quarter of 2022, the Chequered Plate prices witnessed a negative sentiment in the US market owing to the subdued demand outlook. As per market players, Chequered Plate prices have fallen as service centers have held off buying in the face of weak demand from consumers, whose shortages of labor and parts have hit. Fears that the United States is either already in or on the verge of a recession have also reduced purchases. Furthermore, the mill only serves the flat-rolled steel market, and the idling was blamed on high import levels and market conditions. The idling is the first market-related closure reported by a US steelmaker in recent memory. Market participants have complained about persistent oversupply and a lack of more permanent production cuts to reduce volumes. US Steel has idled its No. 8 blast furnace at its Gary Works steel mill in Indiana. Steel mill outages throughout the rest of the year will eliminate nearly 54431 MT of flat-rolled production, but few believe this will alleviate the persistent oversupply. Therefore, the discussions for SS Chequered Plate (6 mm) prices for Ex Texas (USA) settled at USD 4483/MT.
In the Asian market, the Chequered Plate prices declined in the Indian market during the third quarter of 2022 amidst falling raw material costs and dwindling domestic demand. Some plants have shut down operations, while others were operating at 40-50% capacity, driving up the price of lumps. Furthermore, pellet prices have trended upward as demand for the material typically rises during the rainy season, unlike iron ore, which retains a higher moisture level, resulting in an iron ore shortage during the monsoons. Some commodities fell in price in July due to production cuts in tier 1 mills and the secondary sector, while others rose due to supply constraints. In anticipation of further drops, dealers reduced purchase orders. Indian steel mills were reportedly postponing annual maintenance to avoid stockpiling. Some prominent buyers negotiate for more discounts or hold back purchase decisions because of price volatility. Thus, the SS Chequered Plate (304-6 mm) prices for Ex Shanghai (China) settled at USD 2082/MT.
In the European market, the Chequered Plate prices witnessed a sliding price trend during the third quarter of 2022 owing to the rising concerns about consumption, the energy crisis, and a looming European recession. Despite weak demand for steel in Europe, the producers have been pushing for higher prices for both flat and long steel products recently, seeking USD 50-100 per tonne increases to account for rising costs. According to market participants, because these price increases are cost-driven rather than demand-driven, they will be challenging to achieve in transactions. Furthermore, if more output curtailment is implemented in the autumn of 2022, European mills may reach a point where the supply and demand balance is restored by the first quarter of 2023. As a result, producers may try to implement price increases. Sources agreed that the impact of the current production cuts on European steel prices was still uncertain, and they expected more European mills to reduce output to balance the market. Thus, the SS Chequered Plate (304-5mm) prices for Ex Ruhr (Germany) settled at USD 3870/MT.