Positive signs for stainless

Despite all the turmoil in the steel sector in recent weeks, global prices in the stainless strip mill segment are taking an upward path, according to a report in the March issue of Stainless Steel Review. Transaction price gains have been made in all the main consuming regions. This pattern is likely to be maintained, at least, during the second quarter. Rising nickel costs will be translated into higher stainless values for the next three months.
EU average transaction prices for grade 304 cold rolled coil have moved up by more than 10% percent this month/March because of rising alloy surcharges and negotiated basis prices. Further improvement is anticipated up to mid-year as the alloy surcharge escalates. Increases of 7% and 9% have also been recorded in Taiwan and Hong Kong. Higher alloy surcharges have pushed up US values by more than 5%.
Stainless steel has come out relatively unscathed from President Bush’s 201 ruling. Bar and rod producers have been hit by a 15% first year tariff on exports to the US. This will fall to 12% and 9% in years two and three. These levies are in addition to the anti-dumping duties already in place. Strip and plate products in stainless steel were excluded from the 201 ruling.

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