Asian stainless CRC prices rise with higher nickel

Asian stainless cold-rolled coil prices increased in the week to Sept. 3, in line with further gains in nickel and improved market sentiment in the China domestic market.

S&P Global Platts assessed 304 grade 2 mm 2B stainless CRC at $3,120/mt CFR East and Southeast Asian ports on Sept. 3, up $50/mt on the week.

Nickel prices strengthened, rising above the $19,000/mt mark during the week, with the official nickel cash price on the London Metal Exchange settled at $19,365/mt on Sept. 2, up $497/mt on the week.

In Chinese domestic market, sentiment was boosted towards the end of the week on news of output cuts at mills, stronger nickel and stainless futures. Some major export mills hadn’t announced their new offers for November shipment.

Previously, a major mill offered late-August in the range of $3,250-$3,300/mt FOB for end-December shipment. Offering level for immediate delivery cargoes were about $3,000-$3,100/mt FOB, according to traders.

Inquiries were more healthy as most market participants don’t expect export duty to be announced in September. But higher costs for freight remained a major issue, said a Chinese trader.

Some Taiwanese mills were not so keen in adjusting their offers and preferred to wait and see, as they have secured some bookings for October shipment. Their offer level of around $3,350/mt CIF met resistance from buyers, according to a regional trader.

The most actively-traded October stainless steel contract on the Shanghai Futures Exchange was at Yuan 18,715/mt ($2,893/mt) on Sept. 3, up Yuan 1,170/mt, or 6.7%, on the week.