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Asian Market Of Ni-containing Cold Stainless Sheets Enhancing Further Wait-and-see Stance
A wait-and-see attitude of each customer on the Ni-containing cold-rolled stainless steel sheets in the Asian area is felt to have been strengthened further as prices of material nickel fell below $8 per pound in late March. With this, negotiations become quiet.

When prices of material nickel were set at $9.50 per pound at one time of February, the Asian cold rolling mills offered markups of more than $300, and the Japanese mills also offered their prices at $3,200 C&F. However, as the nickel prices continued to drop subsequently, most of the mills had cut their prices by about $200 till now. Bottoming out of prices was expected at this point, and some customers moved to fill their inventories, but as the nickel prices dropped once again just when the market was expected to turn around, the market is showing a downturn.

Taiyuan Iron & Steel of China decreased its domestic prices of Ni-containing cold sheets for April shipment by 1,500 CNY ($238). YUSCO of Taiwan also decreased its domestic prices for April shipment by NT$5,000 ($170). POSCO of Korea left its list prices unchanged, and has kept an attitude to maintain its current prices with no expansion of the discount range.

In Europe and the USA, as prices are linked to those of nickel, the US and European mills lowered their nickel surcharges by $124 and 98 EUR respectively. The US and European mills are going to offset reduction of the nickel surcharges by increasing their base prices but it is doubtful whether they will succeed in such increase.

The worldwide prices of Ni-containing cold stainless sheets are dropping. Usually, March through June is the demand season of cold stainless sheets. Therefore, under normal circumstances, the nickel prices are to rise but it is now showing different moves from the past.

In November last year, when the nickel prices became the level of $8 per pound, the market prices of Ni-containing cold sheets in Asia was the level of $2,800 C&F. The current prices also become $2,900 to 2,850 C&F under falling below $8. But those have not dropped to $2,800 yet. The reasons why such prices have not reached the level of last year are thought that prices of ordinary steel products are rising, and those of Cr-containing stainless sheets are rising due to price increase of chromium.

The inventory level in the Wuxi market of China was 215 thousand tons in late March, which is thought not to be overplus. As each customer has not stopped its spot purchase, the inventory level is seen to be low. Nevertheless, as the anticipation of nickel price is uncertain, an aggressive stance to buy of a customer is not seen at all.

The Japanese mills increased their prices by around $200 till now but are showing a stance to proceeding with negotiations at $3,000 C&F as their bottom prices, which are different by $100 to 150 from those of the Korean and Taiwanese mills. They will be able to proceed with negotiations with a customer having close ties but even such negotiations will become difficult if price difference expands further. In that regard, the environments are becoming tough.
last modified : Mon 09 Apr, 2012 [10:44]
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