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Ni-Based Stainless CR Sheet Prices To Top $3,000 C&F In East Asia
It is likely that transaction prices of nickel-based stainless CR sheets for export will top US$3,000/ton C&F before long in East Asia in the wake of what stainless steel manufacturers in China, South Korea and Taiwan executed last week as domestic price increases of Ni-based CR sheets in the equivalent of around US$200/ton each. For their part, Japan's stainless steel producers are considering offering prices of US$3,100/ton C&F or beyond in their export deals of Ni-based CR sheets for April-May shipments to Asian destinations.

China's Taiyuan Iron & Steel Group Co raised its domestic sales price of Ni-based CR sheets last week by Yn1,500/ton (US$220) to Yn24,600/ton (US$3,617) after tax. The new price translates into beyond US$3,000/ton even before tax.

South Korea's Posco, too, increased its domestic sales price of Ni-based CR sheets last week by W100,000 (US$86) to W3,520,000/ton (US$2,801) for March shipments. It is considered possible for Posco to execute a further price increase in the form of a diminished discount. The company executed a domestic price increase of W100,000/ton earlier for February shipments. As a result, it follows that the company's domestic price increase stands at a cumulative W200,000 (US$172) so far.

Also, Taiwan's stainless steel producers took the plunged last week and increased what they charge for Ni-based CR sheets by NT$4,000/ton (US$120 plus) each. They make it a rule to renew the asking price twice a month. They are said to have executed a price increase of NT$5,000/ton (US$150) in early February. Therefore, they increased their domestic sales prices by a total of NT$9,000/ton (US$270 plus) in February.

China's Wuxi stainless steel market for Ni-based CR sheets fluctuated in a range of Yn22,000-22,500/ton (US$3,235-3,309) after tax between the end of last year and mid-February this year. Last week, the Wuxi market rose by Yn1,500 (US$220) to Yn23,500/ton (US$3,456) after tax. Meanwhile, distribution stocks of stainless sheet products in the Wuxi area totaled 196,000 tons at the end of February, compared with 200,000 tons at the end of a month ago. A small increase in the Wuxi distribution stocks amid domestic stainless steel operations at capacity goes to show that China's stainless steel demand is fairly strong.

Under the existing circumstances, stainless steel manufacturers in various Asian nations are expected to increase their export prices of Ni-based CR sheets from April shipments onward. For the present, it is a matter of attention what price increase Posco will seek in its export deals.

Posco offered its exports of Ni-based CR sheets at US$2,850/ton C&F until early February. But the offers virtually disappeared when China entered the lunar New Year holidays. At the time, Posco was presumably watching a trend of export demand for its products, market observers suggest. There are expectations for the company to offer a price increase of US$150/ton or more to US$3,000/ton C&F or beyond in its new export deals.

Japan's stainless steel producers were flooded with inquiries from Asian destinations before the lunar New Year holidays. The inquiries were intended to secure Ni-based CR sheets whose prices would rise considerably in reaction to an upswing in LME nickel prices. At present, though, local customers find themselves in no situation for hasty purchases of what they require because LME nickel prices are stable at a level of US$9/lb.

Various customers in Asian destinations have begun to mark time on new imports of Ni-based CR sheets. But the Japanese stainless steel producers are contemplating seeking a price increase of US$100-200/ton in what they export for April-May shipments. Chances are they will take a bullish position as the stainless steel export market in Asia is certainly trending upward.
last modified : Fri 05 Mar, 2010 [10:05]
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