For The Quarter Ending September 2022
In the third quarter, Inconel prices in the US market slightly increased as firms reduced operating capacity in response to declining demand. According to market participants, the US economy deteriorated noticeably in Q3 as company activity declined in both the industrial and service sectors. With the exception of pandemic lockdown months, the overall drop in output was the largest since the global financial crisis, indicating that the economy will most likely contract for a third consecutive quarter. Higher interest rates, combined with ongoing inflation, have trickled down to the consumer sector. Supply of Inconel outstripped the available demand in the US market. The problem with adding new capacity is expanding at a rate two to three times faster than demand. Maintenance shutdowns have been ineffective in their efforts to offset the declining prices. While, continuously falling import prices may compensate for lower domestic supply in the coming months. Therefore, the Alloy 600 and Alloy 625 prices for Ex Florida (USA) at USD 91200/MT and USD 126760/MT.
During the third quarter of 2022, the Inconel price witnessed an up-swinging trend in the Asian market. According to market participants, the Indian market has stable to moderate demand inquiries. However, there was no discernible improvement in purchasing interest, and both domestic and export orders were weak. Due to high inventories held by producers, sentiment in the Indian ferroalloys market remained negative. However, due to a lack of supply, some major producers have increased their offers but have yet to find market acceptance. Since chrome ore prices have fallen, small-scale buyers have been deferring purchases in anticipation of a lower price in the next round of purchase tenders from major stainless-steel manufacturers. Buyers with depleted inventories booked even small quantities to ensure that production could continue. Thus, the Alloy 600 and Alloy 601 prices for Ex Shanghai (China) settled at USD 33680/MT and 32020/MT.
In the European market, the Inconel prices witnessed an unprecedented surge in the third quarter despite falling demand. The seasonal decline in business activity in Europe and the United States and ongoing macroeconomic uncertainties have been putting pressure on the nickel market. There has been little purchasing activity in the domestic market. Despite this, Inconel prices have risen as European buyers seek Inconel imports from Japanese players. Participants anticipated that the Inconel prices would rise amid high costs while producers expected to continue operating at low capacity. As production levels drop, German steel producers and traders expect prices to see upward momentum over August amid low supply. Despite sluggish demand during Europe's summer vacations, production levels were lower than usual for the season. Due to rising energy costs, mills were eager to establish higher pricing on product margins going into Q4. Thus, the Alloy 600 Sheet and Alloy 601 Sheet prices for Ex Werdohl (Germany) settled at USD 37300/MT and USD 36830/MT.
For the Quarter Ending June 2022
During the second quarter of 2022, Inconel prices in the United States exhibited a spiraling trend, owing primarily to raw material shortages, particularly nickel-chromium and molybdenum, and a limited supply chain amid ongoing geopolitical events. Inconel prices varied significantly across regions due to higher freight costs and limited import options. According to market participants, raw material price inflation in the United States unexpectedly increased in May, putting pressure on the Federal Reserve to raise interest rates. Furthermore, reduced production activity in the regional market resulted from reduced production and new orders added to the work backlog. Meanwhile, the rate of cost inflation has accelerated, with firms passing on higher costs to buyers in the form of production charges. As a result, the prices of Alloy 600 and Alloy 625 for Ex Florida settled at USD 105990/MT and USD 121540/MT, respectively.
In the Asian market, Inconel prices were mixed during the second quarter of 2022, owing to supply chain disruptions and the relaxation of stringent COVID lockdown and control measures. This rising infection among miners has heightened fears of a labor shortage. Domestic market participants claimed that the strict lockdown measures and soaring raw material prices in the global market, combined with the ongoing hostility in Ukraine, were the primary factors driving this uptrend in April. Furthermore, a rise in the US dollar index due to Fed interest rate hikes and an upsurge in demand for the US dollar owing to the uncertainty surrounding the Russia-Ukraine war resulted in a significant drop in export volume in May and June. As a result, the Ex Shanghai prices for Alloy 600, Alloy 601, and Alloy 625 settled at USD 37200/MT, USD 35600/MT, and USD 39500/MT, respectively.
In the second quarter of 2022, the Inconel prices in the United Arab Emirates witnessed an uptrend due to the severe volatility in raw materials prices associated with the broadened demand-supply gap. Inconel prices have risen since the first quarter due to strong demand from downstream industries such as jet engine exhausts, flare stacks, and chemical plant equipment. All non-essential cargo resources to and from Russia have been hampered until further notice as a result of Russia's invasion and subsequent sanctions on Russian raw materials imposed by Western nations and critical stakeholders; this has forced nickel consumers in those markets to avoid Russian raw materials and metal, creating a grappling condition for alternative supply quotations. Meanwhile, purchasing activity has slowed, partly due to companies reducing inventories rather than purchasing new materials due to increased spending prudence. As a result, the Ex Dubai prices for Alloy 600, Alloy 601, and Alloy 626 were USD 39620/MT, USD 38400/MT, and USD 48000/MT.
For the Quarter Ending March 2022
Inconel prices in the US market increased slightly during the first quarter of 2022 due to raw material shortages, primarily nickel-chromium and molybdenum, and a limited supply chain amid ongoing geopolitical events. Inconel prices varied significantly across regions due to higher freight costs and limited import options. Despite low demand in the domestic market, Inconel prices increased because the market's shortage of molybdenum concentrate has been significantly alleviated. Currently, mills are working hard to reduce raw material prices, and the overall market is on hold. As a result, many market participants took a wait-and-see approach in the face of stagnant demand.
In Asia, the price of Inconel quotations witnessed a slightly increasing trajectory owing to the supply chain constraints amid increasing COVID-19 infection in China during the first quarter of 2022. This rising infection among workers has further raised fears of labour shortages in the mines. Additionally, the pandemic has prompted the Chinese authorities to implement strict restrictions and enforce lockdowns in major cities and ports. As per market participants, the first contraction in manufacturing activity was observed in March, reflecting the impact of widespread COVID-19 outbreaks in key cities, including Shanghai and Shenzhen. The Chinese steel production hub has further enforced lockdowns to curb the spread. The domestic market players proclaimed that the strict lockdown measures and the soaring raw materials prices in the global market amidst the ongoing hostility in Ukraine were the key factors that backed this uptrend. As a ripple effect, Alloy 600, Alloy 601, and Alloy 625 prices for Ex Shanghai settled at USD 39220/MT, USD 36345/MT, and USD 41250/MT during April.
Inconel prices in European nations rose during the first quarter of 2022 because of the reduced production activity caused by Russian troops encircling Ukraine. Furthermore, the severe supply disruption, rising crude oil and energy costs, soaring raw material prices, and increased demand fuelled this uptrend. In addition, the German Steel plants were adjusting to the bullish energy prices and the availability issues amid the transportation sit-downs, driven by the high fuel costs. However, market participants chose a wait-and-watch approach and conducted limited transactions at the end of March, avoiding restocking due to high prices. Eventually, German market participants anticipated rising Inconel prices, driven by supply-demand dynamics. As a ripple effect, the prices of Alloy 600, Alloy 601, and Alloy 625 for Ex Werdohl settled at USD 33200/MT, USD 32900/MT, and USD 34500/MT.