For the Quarter Ending March 2023
In the North American region, the pricing trend for Stainless-Steel HR Coil varied over the three months in the first quarter of 2023. In January, there was a stagnancy in the pricing trend for Stainless-Steel HR Coil due to limited downstream inquiries amidst occasional import deals. However, stocks available in the spot market increased significantly as stainless-steel factories increased product distribution. Service centers continue to manage their inventories, attempting not to accumulate large stocks as the US economy's trajectory remains uncertain after the first quarter. In February, the rates for Stainless-Steel CR Coil increased by more than 1.6% despite an inconsistent supply-demand outlook and shifting raw material costs. However, high US prices made lower-cost imports more alluring, resulting in increased imports of some stainless-steel goods. In March, the prices for Stainless-Steel HR Coil depressed due to low demand amid plentiful inventory available in the domestic market, and mills issued no new formal price increases. Weak orders from end-user industries were observed as buyers were wary of purchasing it at high prices in such a volatile market. Therefore, prices of Stainless Steel HR Coil for Ex Florida settled at USD 3654/MT on March 31.
During the first quarter of 2023, the price trend of Stainless Steel HR Coil edged in a southward direction in the Asia-Pacific region due to high inventory levels and subdued downstream demand. According to market participants, both stainless steel prices and nickel prices fell in this quarter which weakened the cost pressure on the price of finished products. After returning from the Chinese New Year Holiday, Stainless-steel mills resumed their production following the temporary shutdown of plants; however, increased production resulted in dampened demand, and the stainless-steel inventory continued to grow. Although prices fell further in March, they remained higher than spot transaction prices, and the majority of buyers were waiting for more price drops. Spot transactions were also slow, and overseas demand was weak. Overall, Q1 was a challenging quarter for sellers. Therefore, prices of Stainless Steel HR Coil for Ex Shandong settled at USD 1395/MT on March 31.
In the European region, Stainless-Steel HR Coil maintained an overall stable price trend during the first quarter of 2023. In January, the pricing trend was stagnant due to the stable supply-demand outlook and higher inventory levels in the regional market. Buyers preferred to avoid stockpiling material and booked only the minimum required volumes, limiting trading activity. In February, prices increased by more than 1% owing to the robust downstream demand, and several big stainless-steel producers expected higher shipments in the first quarter of 2023. However, in March, the prices approached a downward trend as the market was under the pressure of weakening demand and uncertainty about the future outlook for Stainless Steel consumption. The trading continued to be a lull as buyers maintained a wait-and-see attitude. Flat-product stainless steelmakers were eager for sales, due to which they decreased the prices of Stainless Steel HR Coil in the final month of a quarter. Therefore, prices of Stainless Steel HR Coil for Ex Ruhr settled at USD 2670/MT on March 31.
For the Quarter Ending December 2022
Stainless Steel HR Coil prices remained stable in the US market during the fourth quarter of 2022, owing to limited consumption from the downstream segment. At the start of the Q4, mill margins in the United States were under pressure due to rising input costs and the ongoing push to use more scrap in furnaces and incorporate more obsolete grades into the mix. Mills maintained their margins, but they had to give as spot prices fell, despite scrap dealers and traders stating that the shredded scrap premium to prime grades was not sustainable beyond November. Buyers were focused on reducing inventories across all products through the end of the year, keeping them out of the spot market due to shorter lead times from domestic mills versus longer lead times for imports. Despite falling scrap prices, mills attempted to remain competitive with import offers, as downstream demand from new projects did not warrant additional spot buys, bookings of larger imports, or rising financing costs. Despite months of similar incidents and price increases, manufacturers and some service centers believed the market was finally approaching an absolute bottom.
In the Chinese market, the Stainless Steel HR Coil prices showcased a declining trend in the final quarter of 2022 due to a limited downstream demand outlook and production curtailment by major manufacturers. In some areas, epidemic prevention and control measures were tightened, and logistics and transportation were disrupted. In response to supply and demand, upstream nickel prices rose and fell sharply, while stainless steel prices remained relatively stable. Traders and downstream businesses waited and saw, buying only when necessary. Downstream demand was declining toward the end of the year, and market willingness to purchase was low.
Towards the closure of Q4, the Stainless Steel HR Coil prices showcased a stagnancy in their price trend in the European market amidst a fixed downstream demand outlook and higher inventory level. Buyers who ordered December delivery said the material has been readily available, with lead times as low as two weeks from several mills. Customers are putting off purchases. Buyers reported that terminal demand had remained relatively stable, and distributors began restocking in November, indicating that inventories had been depleted. The restocking did not involve any large cargoes, and increased distributor demand did not affect prices. Buyers claim that the demand crashed, and until recently, the market was weighed down by high inventories and low actual demand to the point where most European stainless mills initiated some production cuts. According to sellers, domestic prices for SS Hot-rolled coil in Europe remained unchanged due to a market slowdown ahead of the Christmas holidays.
For the Quarter Ending September 2022
The SS HR Coil prices in the North American market witnessed a plunging trend in the third quarter of 2022 amidst a conservative demand outlook. As per market players, US SS HR Coil prices have been under significant pressure due to weakening downstream demand, cautious service center purchasing, and persistently high supply. Fears of being saddled with overpriced steel inventories had kept many buyers on the sidelines as signs of a recession had emerged, including two consecutive quarters of negative growth and weakened manufacturing and housing indicators. Cleveland-Cliffs operated a blast furnace at its Cleveland, Ohio, mill entirely used by August to capitalize on rising automotive demand. As a ripple effect, the Stainless Steel-304 HR Coil (5 mm) prices for Ex Florida (USA) and CFR Alabama Port (USA) settled at USD 4009/MT and USD 3860/MT, respectively.
In the Indian market, Stainless-Steel HR Coil prices witnessed a declining trend in the third quarter of 2022. Buyers had taken a wait-and-see approach, waiting for the precise price picture to emerge. On the other hand, spot traders were primarily cautious, waiting for more precise price directions. Stainless-steel spot transactions were relatively low, while demand in the downstream market fluctuated, but prices remained reasonably stable with minor dips. Furthermore, domestic producers were uninterested in export inquiries because seaborne buyers wanted the material at lower prices. As a result of the disparity between bids and offers, producers turned to domestic markets. Prices also stayed within the range. However, due to a lack of supply, some major producers have increased their offers but have yet to find market acceptance. Thus, the discussions for Stainless Steel-304 HR Coil (5 mm) prices for CFR JNPT (India) settled at USD 2461/MT.
In the third quarter of 2022, the price of Stainless-Steel HR Coil fell. Buyers had purchased only small quantities based on demand. While producers worldwide shut down plants due to high energy costs, buyer demand surged between August and mid-September. Steel manufacturers reduced their offers below production costs due to rising energy costs and falling demand. Several manufacturers had announced outages to secure adequate orders and profits. Downstream demand fell in the third quarter as buyers were already overstocked and avoided further purchases. Buyers initially requested additional discounts after manufacturers reduced their quotation costs. The Stainless-Steel market in Germany remains subdued and with largely falling prices, but buyers opted for a wait-and-see approach until there was more clarity on costs. Thus, during the end of the third quarter, Stainless Steel-HR Coil (5 mm) prices for FOB Hamburg (Germany) settled at USD 2854/MT.
For the Quarter Ending June 2022
In the US market, the Stainless-Steel HR Coil prices witnessed an upsurging trend in the second quarter of 2022. Since late March, the global market has lagged as Covid-19 lockdowns in parts of China, the conflict between Russia and Ukraine, and spiraling inflation have increased demand outlook uncertainty in 2022. Despite a significant increase in output, iron and steel producers struggled to keep up with demand and depleted stockpiles. Despite a substantial rise in production, iron and steel producers struggled to keep up with demand and depleted stocks. The steel industry is facing new challenges, and supply chain issues will persist throughout 2022. With roughly 60% of US pig iron (an essential input for steel production) imported from Russia and Ukraine, supply will be further restricted due to the Russian-Ukrainian war and subsequent sanctions.
In China, the Stainless-Steel HR Coil prices fell by about 12% in the second quarter of 2022. Under the influence of the epidemic, weak demand, and hindered logistics, the social inventory of stainless steel piled up in April. High overseas prices and the currency's devaluation further promoted stainless steel exports. Traders who were initially optimistic about the purchase demand before the May holiday became increasingly pessimistic due to the repeated epidemic. Raw materials are in short supply, but the market inventory is too large, and the downstream demand is relatively dissatisfied. In May and June, raw material costs were high, downstream demand was weak, and stainless-steel prices were in a dilemma. Steel mills were at a loss; the actual downstream purchases were relatively small, mainly based on rigid demand, and the volume had not increased. According to sellers, the transactions in the second quarter were still worse than in Q1.
Stainless Steel HR coil prices in Europe showcased a mixed sentiment in the second quarter due to monthly alloy surcharges on nickel-bearing stainless steel flat-rolled products in Europe. Following last month's extreme volatility in the nickel futures market, these are expected to rise sharply in May. Steel prices in Europe are falling as weakening manufacturing demand combines with inventories replenished following Russia's invasion of Ukraine. The drop comes as Europe's economy slows, with high commodity prices and inflation crimping consumption across the continent. After the war caused concern about disruptions in steel exports from Russia and Ukraine, service centers and factories rebuilt stockpiles, reducing the need for consumers to buy products at historically high prices.
For the Quarter Ending March 2022
Stainless Steel HR Coil prices in the United States increased during the first quarter of 2022. The US Stainless Steel HR Coil prices witnessed a downward trend in January. However, in February, the prices of Stainless-Steel HR Coil rose again due to supply shortages. In March, Stainless Steel HR Coil prices in the US market reached an all-time high, rising by more than 8% monthly. Additionally, the downstream demand from the construction industry for Stainless Steel HR Coil was average as the resumption of production activity started after the pandemic. As per market participants, the Russia-Ukraine war has exacerbated the price volatility in the global market.
During the first quarter of 2022, the Stainless-Steel HR Coil prices in the Asian market witnessed an inclining trend owing to the shortages of raw materials amidst the ongoing Russia-Ukraine Hostility. Since the beginning of Q1, the Stainless-Steel HR Coil prices in the Chinese market had been weak, even though prices were rising slightly. Additionally, towards the end of March, its buying sentiment was still weak due to the soaring price dynamics. The demand was slow due to the pandemic and poor downstream purchasing. Upswing raw material costs further upsurged the Stainless-Steel HR Coil prices as a ripple effect.
In the European market, the Stainless-Steel HR Coil prices witnessed an inclining trend primarily due to the extending Russia-Ukraine combat and its repercussions, particularly on raw material and logistics. As per market participants, the prices of the raw materials, especially nickel, surged more than 30% in the global market. The European Stainless Steel CR Coil prices surged due to a host of factors such as stretched supply chain, sanctions on Russian raw materials, coupled with the falling exchange-rate value of the rouble, and Russia’s removal from the Swift international payment method have led to a swell in Stainless-Steel HR Coil prices. As a ripple effect, the Stainless-Steel HR Coil prices soared in the global market.