For the Quarter Ending December 2022
Towards the end of 2022, the Stainless-Steel CR Coil prices showcased a persistent downward trend in the North American market owing to the higher supplies amidst constraint downstream demand outlook. Buyers were focused on reducing inventories, keeping them out of the spot market, and allowing them to take advantage of shorter lead times from domestic mills. Mills had maintained their margins, but as spot prices fell, they were forced to give, despite scrap dealers and traders claiming that the shredded scrap premium to prime grades was not sustainable beyond November. The peak of the off-season occurred in December, and the industrial chain had contracted even more due to this year's terminal demand. As a result, the price of SS-304 CR plate (6 mm) for Ex Florida (USA) settled at USD 6645/MT.
During the closure of the fourth quarter, the Stainless-Steel CR Coil prices edged downward in the Chinese market as the downstream inquiries decreased amidst the COVID control and prevention measures. According to market participants, the unplanned arrival of stainless-steel CR Coil after the festival and rising problems with raw material supply contributed to the October price increase. Some merchants provided discounts near the end of Q4. The explosion at an Indonesian nickel pig iron facility, the weak dollar, and news that the Goro mine in New Caledonia was reducing output due to a tailings dam leak all contributed to the nickel price increase. Mills were scrambling for nickel supplies because nickel producers had very little product available. On the demand side, Stainless steel prices rebounded more in mid-December, influenced by futures prices. As a result, the Ex Shanghai Stainless Steel 304 CR Coil (3 mm) price settled at USD 2668/MT.
In the European market, Stainless Steel CR Coil prices exhibited a price trend stagnancy in the fourth quarter of 2022, as prices remained unchanged due to persistently weak downstream demand. Due to increased price volatility, European steel producers considered moving to shorter terms with fixed-price contract customers, particularly automakers, in October. Some mills have ceased offering and will return to the market in the first half of January. Steelmakers' efforts to raise Stainless Steel CR Coil prices and values for January delivery remained consistent month after month, as Europe's current economic downturn did not support higher prices. Domestic prices for SS Cold-rolled coil in Europe were unchanged at the end of Q4 due to a market slowdown ahead of the Christmas holidays. Thus, the discussions of Stainless Steel-304 CR Sheet (2 mm) prices for Ex Ruhr (Germany) settled at USD 3138/MT.
For the Quarter Ending September 2022
SS CR Coil prices in the North American market fell during the third quarter of 2022 as the market was divided on sentiment, with a price increase announced in mid-August failing to gain traction. The most extended lead times were reported in mid-September. Large service centers expressed their wait-and-see strategies had not changed in the last week as they await increased demand. The ongoing labor talks between the United Steelworkers (USW) and integrated steelmaker US Steel appeared to reach a stalemate towards the quarter end. Many buyers refused to make purchases that would increase their inventories, preferring to keep stocks tight rather than risk investing in an uncertain market. Many buyers were skeptical that the price increases do more than just level the demand. Towards the quarter end, the prices of Stainless Steel CR Coil were USD 7360 Ex Florida (USA).
In the Chinese market, Stainless Steel CR coil prices fell in the third quarter of 2022 amidst falling raw material prices and a subdued domestic and international demand outlook. Due to incomplete orders, buyers purchased materials sparingly, and market sales performance remained unsatisfactory in Q3. Stainless steel prices rose during the monsoon season in most Chinese provinces, and demand increased during the quarter. Meanwhile, Russian manufacturers offered attractive discounts on stainless steel to cater to Asia's mass market, which forced Chinese players to lower their export duty. Stainless steel mills continued to curtail production in August and September, despite high stainless-steel transactions. Market participants claim that there are currently few stainless-steel sheets available. Thus, the discussions for the Stainless Steel-304 CR plate (6 mm) prices for Ex Florida (USA) and CFR Alabama (USA) settled at USD 7360/MT and USD 6924/MT.
In the European market, the Stainless-Steel CR Coil prices plunged in the third quarter of 2022 because of the rising concerns about consumption, the energy crisis, and a looming European recession. According to market participants, steel sales in the second half of 2022 were much lower than expected, so distributors still had large stocks of flat steel products. Furthermore, trading activity remained low, and mills failed to pass on rising energy costs to steel prices. According to suppliers, the German players accumulated most of the coil stock in the European market, and distributors struggled to move supplies down when it came to commodity coils. In addition, rising energy prices impacted service centers, forcing them to operate at lower rates and consume less steel. Thus, the Stainless Steel-304 CR Sheet (2 mm) prices for Ex-Ruhr and FOB Hamburg settled at USD 3099/MT and USD 3243/MT, respectively.
For the Quarter Ending June 2022
In the US market, the Stainless-Steel CR Coil prices increased due to the lower inventory level and the decline in production activity. Because of the rising inflationary pressures and supply-chain disruptions, new orders fell. Firms augmented production activity with current holdings of inputs and finished goods as input purchases slowed and supply chain delays eased. At the same time, firms raised inflationary concerns once more as business confidence in the year ahead fell. As a result of inflation, material shortages, and delivery delays, some customers paused or reduced their purchases of goods, which was accompanied by a renewed decline in overseas buyer demand. As per market players, the manufacturing sector in the United States remains demand-driven, and supply-chain constrained. As a ripple effect, the prices of stainless-steel CR coils surged.
In the Indian market, the price of SS 304 CR Coil (2 mm) witnessed an upswing during the second quarter of 2022 due to the robust demand and higher nickel prices. As per domestic suppliers, manufacturers have passed hikes on the cost increase to end consumers, which has led to a dampening of demand, hurting the Steel industry further. In addition to rising materials costs, fluctuating exchange rates and rising operational costs are other factors driving price increases in the country following Production curtailment. Additionally, India imposes a 15% import tax on stainless steel coils and Aluminium extrusion, a further bullish factor for overseas stainless-steel exporters. Mills are working on other prospects to prevail in the export market amid the export duties. As per market players, several weeks of sturdy demand have kept domestic and export prices for stainless steel in India and import prices in East Asia stable. As a ripple effect, the SS 304 CR Coil (2 mm) prices for Ex. Chennai (India) settled at INR 320000/MT.
Stainless Steel 304 CR Sheet prices in Germany fell in the second quarter of 2022 due to a lack of domestic and international demand amidst higher inventory levels. According to market participants, Stainless Steel 304 CR Sheet prices fell roughly 30% in May due to cheaper Asian imports and much higher alloy surcharges, as well as a slowing economy and dwindling demand. The weak demand outlook from domestic mills and lower raw material costs, particularly nickel, exacerbated demand concerns and pushed Stainless Steel 304 CR Sheet prices down. Market participants believe that Germany is oversupplied and that flat CR stainless steel base prices remain under pressure due to weak demand. Faced with such weak fundamentals, several mills embarked on longer-than-usual maintenance turnarounds this summer. While the market is still under pressure due to a lack of direction, several market participants believe it will begin to recover in September. As a result, the Ex Ruhr (Germany) price for Stainless Steel-304 CR Sheet (2 mm) has been set at USD 1510/MT.
For the Quarter Ending March 2022
In the US, the Stainless Steel 304 prices appear moderate in the US market, with inventories and demand maintaining healthy levels during the first quarter of 2022. Despite the recent opening of mills, purchases have been sluggish as buyers tend to source as per their requirements, keeping the wait-and-see sentiment in the spot market. As per market participants, stainless steel 304 is stable in the US market, but higher prices are anticipated in the forthcoming weeks. Furthermore, rising prices in the Stainless Steel 304 market are cooling during March as the market adjusts to current realities and a possible slowdown in demand. While mills reportedly ask as much for further orders, several buyers report little buying activity at these levels. Thus, market players opted for a wait-and-watch outlook amid the stagnant demand.
The price of Stainless Steel-304 CR Coil in Asia increased during the first quarter of 2022 due to rising raw material prices, primarily nickel and iron ore. This upward trend is primarily supported by Russia's and Ukraine's ongoing hostility. However, the impact is doubled with the resurgence of COVID-19 cases in several Chinese cities. Because of the growing number of Omicron cases in China, authorities have suppressed onloading and offloading activities, increasing port congestion and traffic. Furthermore, rising coking coal and nickel prices have hampered steel production and exacerbated market dynamics for Stainless Steel-304 CR Coil. The price of Stainless Steel-304 CR Coil for Ex Shanghai settled at USD 2925/MT during Q1 of 2022 due to the ripple effect.
In Europe, the Stainless Steel 304 CR Coil prices witnessed an inclining trend owing to robust demand from the downstream sector. The Russia-Ukraine war and its ramifications, particularly on raw materials and logistics in China's significantly rising COVID-19 issues, have a dual impact on supply and demand dynamics. The rising procurement risk, financial constraints, and port bottleneck all increased Stainless Steel 304 CR Coil prices. However, increasing availability uncertainty and rising safety and security concerns are among the significant concerns. As per market participants, rising supply chain delays and input cost inflation due to stretched supply chains put inflationary pressure on raw material prices. As a ripple effect, the soaring raw material prices further provoked Stainless Steel 304 CR Coil prices to surge in the regional market.