For the Quarter Ending December 2023
In Q4, the price of Natural Steatite experienced a stable market trend in the North American region amidst several macroeconomic factors. Initially, due to surging raw material prices, Taiwanese steel mills, including Chung Hung Steel Corporation and China Steel Corporation, raised prices in response to increased costs of iron ore and steel scrap. Despite stagnant demand from Europe and the US, market confidence persisted as substantial orders were placed. In October, price adjustments were initiated to counter rising production costs, expected to continue into the last quarter.
In November, Taiwan's spot market saw a notable increase in Steel Wire Rod prices due to supply constraints, heightened demand from automotive and construction sectors, and disruptions in the Panama Canal affecting iron ore imports. In December, Steel Wire Rod pricing followed a specific trajectory influenced by reduced demand during the winter and holiday seasons.
Disruptions in trade routes, particularly in the Panama Canal and the Red Sea, further challenged market sentiment. Adverse weather conditions and reduced demand from the construction sector caused a slowdown in manufacturing activity across Taiwan. The final price for Natural Steatite CFR Houston in the USA remained at 761 USD/MT.
During the fourth quarter, the APAC market for Natural Steatite witnessed a significant decline in pricing trend, affected by various macroeconomic factors. Initially, the price of Natural Steatite surged in the Japanese spot market due to sustained high demand from major industries and limited supply. Environmental concerns led to reduced mining operations in Chinese and Indian mines, impacting the global supply. Increased demand from cookware, housing, and casting industries globally, driven by industrialization and decreased inflation rates, contributed to heightened buying activity. Consequently, mills implemented price hikes for November. However, in the Japanese market, Natural Steatite spot prices have since decreased. This decline is attributed to reduced demand and increased inventory levels resulting from decreased trade activities. Surplus supply is the result of reduced consumption by both local and international industries. Trade disruptions caused by the Houthi Rebel attacks in Yemen and the Panama Canal drought affected export activities, leading to higher freight costs. Severe winter conditions in Japan further slowed demand in downstream industries, including housing and casting. Pessimistic market sentiment emerged as consumers expressed concerns about rebel attacks, leading to a decline in the paper and pulp, paint, and glass manufacturing industries in the Japanese market. The final price for Natural Steatite CFR Osaka in Japan remained at 534 USD/MT.
In the fourth quarter, the pricing trend of Natural Steatite in the APAC market experienced a stable market trend, influenced by several macroeconomic factors. At the start of Q4, In November, Natural Steatite prices rose in the US spot market due to increased demand from downstream industries and limited supply. Chinese and Indian mines faced reduced extraction rates due to environmental concerns, contributing to the supply constraints. The surge in demand was fueled by industrialization and a global decrease in inflation rates, leading to heightened buying activity in cookware, housing, and casting industries. Mills implemented price hikes as a result. However, in the US market, Natural Steatite spot prices later declined due to decreased demand, increased inventory levels from reduced trade activities, and surplus supply. Trade disruptions caused by the Houthi Rebel attacks in Yemen and drought in the Panama Canal impacted export activities, resulting in higher freight costs and scaled-back trading operations. Severe winter conditions in the US affected downstream industries, leading to a slowdown in demand. Consumer concerns about rebel attacks further dampened order placements, causing a subtle decline in the downstream paper, pulp, paint, and glass manufacturing industries in the US market. Overall, a pessimistic market sentiment prevailed. The final price for Natural Steatite CFR Houston in the USA remained at 761 USD/MT.