Asian stainless CRC edges higher on firm nickel prices

Asian stainless cold-rolled steel prices gained in the week to April 9, while Chinese market picked up pace, in line with a rebound in futures and nickel prices.

S&P Global Platts assessed 304-grade 2 mm 2B stainless CRC at $2,380/mt CFR East and Southeast Asian ports April 9, up $20/mt week on week.

The official nickel cash price on the London Metal Exchange settled at $16,778/mt April 8, up $628/mt on the week.

Chinese domestic market remained volatile during the week and was up slightly compared with the previous week. But outlook was uncertain due to rising output and more delivery from mills, said a southern China trader.

“Although prices might be supported by raw material costs, some traders want to liquidate inventory to secure the profit amid uncertain outlook in the new term,” he said. The offer level was at around $2,300/mt FOB China for immediate delivery cargoes, a market source said.

Meanwhile, Taiwanese mills held offers on the day and preferred to update offers in the week beginning April 11 after assessing market situation. But Taiwanese mills were not under sales pressure now, thus their prices are unlikely to loosen, said a regional trader.

The most actively-traded June 2021 stainless steel contract on the Shanghai Futures Exchange was at Yuan 14,400/mt April 9, up Yuan 125/mt, or 0.9%, on the week.

— Analyst Yuelin Dai