HOT ROLLED STAINLESS STEEL COIL
Transaction values for grade 316 moved up again this month in all regions. Another alloy surcharge rise occured in North America. In the EU, basis figures reduced but offset only 53 per cent of the surcharge growth. The gap between Eastern and Western prices narrowed as Asian mills imposed another significant hike in recent weeks.
In the short term, Hot Rolled Coil transaction prices are expected to increase in Asia as mills attempt to recover the higher nickel values. In the EU and North America, basis figures are predicted to fall further over the next three months as surcharges continue their upward path. Transaction prices should stabilise over the summer months in all regions before moving downwards into the second half of the year as nickel values gradually reduce.
Nickel prices rebounded from the dip recorded in the last week of March, staying above the $US50,000 per tonne mark for the majority of April. May is expected to remain at a similar level because LME stocks are predicted to stay low. Planned stainless capacity reductions in Europe will ease the demand on nickel in the short term. This should result in a gradual lowering of nickel values towards $US40,000 per tonne. New supply, due on stream over the next twelve months, could bring figures lower. However, the extra tonnage available is not expected to push the market into excess. Prices are not predicted to fall below $US35,000 per tonne during the first half of 2008. 02.05.2007