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Ni-Based Japanese Stainless CR Sheets Sell At $2,900 C&F For March Exports
Japan's stainless steel manufacturers have firmed up their export deals of nickel-based CR sheets at US$2,900/ton C&F for March shipments to Asian destinations, mainly to China. Various customers have accepted the offer price of US$2,900/ton C&F all together for March shipments in reaction to a recovery of LME nickel prices to US$8.10/lb on last weekend. At the same time, the customers have requested increased contract volumes of Ni-based CR sheets from Japan. But the Japanese stainless steel manufacturers are set to turn down the requests for increased supply volumes on the argument that their export negotiations for March shipments are virtually over.

Until recently, the customers were pressing hard for a price reduction in their imports of Ni-based CR sheets from Japan. At present, though, they favor a sudden easing of their bargaining stance to seek increased supply volumes from Japan, a situation that looks as if the sellers have won back a favorable position.

LME nickel prices declined to a level of US$7/lb in early February after the Japanese stainless steel producers offered their exports of Ni-based CR sheets at US$2,900/ton C&F to Asian destinations for March shipments. Then, the customers demanded a price reduction of US$100-150/ton on the basis of a fall in LME nickel prices. The Japanese suppliers rejected the demand and stood pat on the contention that they would take no orders at less than US$2,900/ton C&F.

Behind the Japanese rejection of a price reduction lay the judgment that strong demand exists in China's stainless steel market for Ni-based CR sheets, as evidenced by two factors. In the first place, Taiyuan Iron & Steel Group Co, one of China's major stainless steel companies, has maintained a flat sales price of Yn23,120/ton (US$3,400) after tax for Ni-based CR sheets despite a fall in nickel prices. In the next place, the Wuxi stainless steel market has moved sideways so far for Ni-based CR sheets.

With a sudden upswing in LME nickel prices, the Asian customers for what the Japanese stainless steel producers provide are thought to have concluded that transaction prices of Ni-based CR sheets are bound to advance. Also, the customers have retracted their requests for a price reduction, agreed to negotiate purchases at the Japanese offer price, and requested increased supply volumes.

Until last week, the Japanese stainless steel producers worried over how to go about Asian deals for their exports of Ni-based CR sheets after the lunar New Year holidays (Feb 13-19) in China. With a fast turn of the situation, though, they find themselves relieved of their worry. As a result, they are poised to work positively toward a higher price level of US$3,000/ton C&F in their new exports of Ni-based CR sheets.

As far as Japan's stainless steel mills are concerned, export deals of Ni-based CR sheets in the past have served largely as the way of filling up rolling schedules. But until now, export sales of Ni-based CR sheets have become what can afford profits.
last modified : Fri 19 Feb, 2010 [10:07]
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