Nickel price rise

A rapid rise in the price of nickel since the turn of the year will force up alloy surcharges on all austenitic grades in the European Union and USA. Primary nickel reached a 27-month high at USD 8745 per tonne in late January before falling back. Increases in alloy surcharges are normally a precursor to a rise in negotiated basis prices. Mill order books usually fill up as customers purchase larger quantities to speculate against further price hikes. This gives the steelmakers the confidence to drive up selling values. In this instance, the producers will have difficulties raising basis figures and alloy surcharges at the same time. Real demand in the industrialised countries is rather flat. Basis prices are, therefore, already under negative pressure. It is estimated that the flat products alloy surcharge for grade 304 in the US will advance to approximately USD 315 per tonne in March. The German surcharge could expand to at least USD 365. A further increase could occur in April.
Universal Stainless & Alloy Products Inc. has announced a 3% to 6% price increase on those nickel-based alloys it currently produces, effective immediately. The company will continue to apply its raw material surcharge policy already in effect on all of its products.

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