For the Quarter Ending December 2022
Towards the closure of the final quarter of 2022, the Monel prices edged in the downward direction in the US market owing to the stable supply-demand outlook. Following the March short squeeze and temporary suspension of the LME nickel trade, many market participants exited or reduced their exposure, resulting in a liquidity crisis and price swings in the three-month contract that were frequently unrelated to fundamentals. Market participants claim that there was inflation and that a recession was possible. As a result, the US Federal Reserve increased borrowing costs to cool the economy and relieve price pressures. The consumer prepares for annual contracting and prefers not to accept excessively inflated raw material prices in mid-Q4. In the alloy segment's weak position, alloy prices fell from their previous indicative levels in early December to current market levels. Alloy prices were reported to be stable by the end of December. Alloy buyers reported staying on the sidelines in response to softer market conditions and were encouraged by shorter steel mill lead times as they worked down well-stocked inventories and controlled costs. As a result, alloy 400 sheet prices for Ex Florida (USA) settled in December at USD 72450/MT.
In the final quarter of 2022, the Monel prices in the Chinese market showed stagnancy because of the limited downstream demand. The demand for Monel increased in mid-Q4 as a result of frequent positive developments in the new energy industry chain. The profit margin on stainless steel increased, causing the steel plant to maintain a high production schedule. Furthermore, the number of infections reached an all-time high. Lockdowns in the major cities choked domestic consumption, disrupted supply chains, and even ignited street protests in many cities. Furthermore, supply and demand for nickel ore remained low, but there was a strong willingness to support the mine's price, which was expected to be unsustainable due to weak fundamentals. The volatile molybdenum prices in the international market had influenced the sentiment of the domestic Monel market. Some mining companies and traders actively sold, easing the supply of raw materials. Despite this, most mining companies were holding back cargo in preparation for price increases. As a result, Ex Shanghai Alloy 400 sheet prices settled at USD 33040/MT.
In the European market, the Monel prices edged in the upward direction owing to the fluctuating raw material Nickel costs and limited inventory availability. According to market participants, nickel prices were trading sideways as volumes fell to record lows in October. Inventory at service centers, brokers, and master distributors remained plentiful. According to the LME, no Russian producers would be penalized. The London Metal Exchange's low liquidity had increased volatility since the last nickel short squeeze. According to manufacturers of manganese and silicon alloys, ferrochrome prices in the European market were mostly down in December due to seasonal decreases in business activity. In contrast, the ferroalloys segment saw a price increase due to speculative trading company actions and a similar trend in China. The supply of raw materials for molybdenum ingots was insufficient, and demand in China was extremely high, especially in December. Consumers in Europe required materials, and it was difficult for them to find these prices after the Christmas holiday. Thus, the price of Alloy 400 for Ex Werdohl was settled at USD 42825/MT.
For The Quarter Ending September 2022
In the third quarter of 2022, the Monel market witnessed an episodic price trend in the US due to the fluctuating raw material costs. Monel prices increased slightly in July due to inflationary concerns, while broader economic conditions dampened optimism. In July, inflationary pressures remained historically high but eased further. Firms reported a drop in output, attributed to relatively low demand, worsening financial conditions, and higher prices. Cost pressures remained high, however, due to supply chain issues, raw material shortages, and skyrocketing prices for key inputs like energy. Due to low inquiries, Monel prices have been falling since mid-quarter. Maintenance shutdowns, according to manufacturers, are unlikely to be enough to offset weak demand, while falling import prices compensated for lower domestic supply. The outages had little effect on the supply-demand balance, mainly because service center inventories remained stable. As a ripple effect, the Alloy 400 Sheet prices for FOB Miami (USA) settled at USD 77320/MT.
Monel prices fell precipitously in the Asian market during the third quarter of 2022. As seaborne buyers wanted the material at lower prices, Chinese producers were uninterested in export inquiries. Because of the disparity between bids and offers, producers had turned to domestic markets. Due to high temperatures and lower rainfall in Sichuan mid-August, hydropower generation output was insufficient to meet rising local electricity consumption. Following the rationing of power by the Sichuan Power Grid, all Monel producers in Sichuan were closed to ensure resident power consumption. The increased inventory experienced a specific drop in Q3 due to a decrease in downstream production, but overall demand remains lower than expected. While new orders dropped, falling work backlogs and rising finished goods stocks suggested a possible build-up of excess capacity at factories. Prices thus remained northbound in the third quarter of 2022, with market participants taking a wait-and-see approach, waiting for the price slide to stabilize before returning to the market. As a ripple effect, the Alloy 400 sheet prices for Ex Shanghai (China) settled at USD 32950/MT.
In the European market, Monel prices rose in the third quarter due to rising raw material costs and rising recessionary fears. Soaring electricity prices pressurized European producers in a difficult position, with cost and selling price curves steadily converging. The limited demand inquiries were quoted overseas, according to European buyers. The primary reason for this was seasonal drop-in consumer activity. Carbon steel production was being reduced due to ongoing macroeconomic uncertainty and rising production costs. Domestic transactions, on the other hand, were restricted. Rising production costs, exacerbated by an unprecedented rise in electricity prices in the EU, began to pressure producers, particularly in Germany. German steel producers and traders felt soaring Monel prices in August due to a lack of supply as production levels fell. Furthermore, producers noted that ongoing high electricity and gas costs would immediately impact Monel's costs. Thus, Alloy 400 prices for FOB Hamburg (Germany) settled at USD 40941/MT.
For the Quarter Ending June 2022
During the second quarter of 2022, Alloy-400 prices increased by nearly 14.6 percent in the US market due to raw material shortages, a constrained supply chain, and an increase in domestic and international demand amid ongoing geopolitical circumstances, price hikes, and supplier delivery delays. Higher freight costs and fewer import options caused Alloy-400 prices to vary widely across regions. However, some Midwest plants saw stock availability in late May, while others waited until June. Meanwhile, the rate of cost inflation has accelerated, with firms passing on higher expenses to buyers in the form of production charges, adding to cost pressures. Higher operating costs and increases in metals, energy, fuel, and transportation have exacerbated price increases during the Ukraine war and China's COVID-19 lockdowns.
The prices of Monel in the Chinese market witnessed an increasing trend during the second quarter of 2022 due to soaring prices of raw materials and currency depreciation amidst the ongoing hostilities between Russia and Ukraine. According to Chinese domestic players, raw material supply shortages and China's decarbonization policy caused a structural shift in the market dynamics of Alloy 400. According to participants, the Yuan exchange rate has dropped precipitously since April 2022, and the Yuan's rapid depreciation is due to three significant factors: Lockdowns in China, a rise in the US dollar index as a result of Fed interest rate hikes, have resulted in a substantial drop in exports. Although the Yuan is under severe depreciation pressure, there will most likely be a tipping point when China's manufacturing industry returns to normal. The Federal Reserve's tightening monetary policy and the resumption of overseas manufacturing have exacerbated the decline in exports.
In the European market, the Alloy 400 experienced soaring market sentiments in the second quarter of 20222, primarily due to increased raw material and energy prices and economic losses caused by the ongoing disputes between Russia and Ukraine. The market quotations heralded a supply deficit that overshadowed the demand outlook. On the other hand, domestic German steel manufacturers were adjusting to rising energy prices and supply issues caused by transportation shutdowns caused by high fuel costs. According to market participants, resurgent demand, precautionary stockpiles, and supply chain bottlenecks have exacerbated raw material shortages and sent prices skyrocketing. Furthermore, the US Federal Reserve is raising interest rates, and European bank interest rates are rising, making product availability in the German market even more difficult. The stakes of continued disruption are high, but problems will take time to resolve, and industries are being hit unevenly. German market participants heard of limited transactions and chose to wait and see, avoiding restocking at high costs.
For the Quarter Ending March 2022
During the first quarter of 2022, Alloy 400 prices in the Asian market skyrocketed, owing primarily to rising crude oil, energy, and raw material prices, particularly nickel, carbon, Aluminium, and iron ore, amidst ongoing hostilities between Russia and Ukraine. Due to local community protests, the uncertain disruption in Peruvian mining primarily supports the soaring raw material prices. According to Chinese domestic players, two factors causing a structural change in the market dynamics of Alloy 400 are the supply shortage of raw materials and the decarbonization policy in China. Also, the imposition of strict COVID-19 restrictions in China hampered onloading and offloading activities and increased port traffic. The constraints in Shanghai and other Chinese cities are starting to bubble through global supply chains, with some factories being forced to close and delays rising at ports. As a ripple effect, the prices of Alloy 400 for EX-Shanghai settled at USD 17425 per tonne.
In the first quarter of 2022, the Monel prices in Europe witnessed an inclining trend amidst several factors, primarily COVID-19 disruptions, stretched global supply chains, rising inflationary pressures, and elevated geopolitical tensions. The Russia-Ukraine combat and its aftermath, mainly on raw material and logistics, impacted supply and demand-side activities and compelled market participants to adopt a wait-and-watch policy for further price hikes. The imbalance between raw materials demand and supply outlook significantly contributed to a further rise in manufacturers' purchasing costs during Q1 of 2022. Market participants claim that the rising risk of procurement, limitations in financial support, and port bottleneck are among the significant factors that have driven the sentiments of Monel worldwide.
In the UAE, Alloy 400 witnessed an increasing trend in Q1 of 2022 due to the extreme volatility in raw materials, especially nickel, iron ore, and copper prices, coupled with the broadened demand-supply gap. Since the beginning of this quarter, the Alloy 400 prices have showcased an inclining trajectory. The Russia-Ukraine conflict and its ramifications and subsequent sanctions on Russian raw materials have hampered all non-essential cargo reserves to and from Russia until more information is available. As a result, nickel buyers in those markets have been forced to avoid Russian raw materials and metals, resulting in a scramble for alternative sources of supply. As a result of growing raw material costs, the market dynamics for Alloy 400 in the UAE have shifted to a bullish trend. As a ripple effect, the prices of Alloy 400 for Ex Dubai were assessed at USD 33313/MT.