European stainless coil seen increasing again, demand high

Stainless steel coil prices in Europe are seen increasing again, possibly by a further €100/tonne ($120), in the coming weeks. This is on account of extremely tight supply and spiking nickel prices that should push up alloy surcharges in May, market participants tell Kallanish.

The news of the cancellation of Chinese tax rebates has caused an “earthquake” in the global market for stainless steel coil, sources say. Other Asian countries together with China are cancelling negotiations for stainless coils with western buyers. One producer in Indonesia is said to be mulling a $200/t increase for coil.

The reduced offer volume from Asia adds to expected new European safeguard measures on Indian and Indonesian stainless cold rolled coil, leaving Western buyers grappling with short supply. “CRC, at the moment, is impossible to find,” a source comments.

The main European mills are quoting stainless hot and cold rolled coil for October and November. Prices have increased by a further €50/t on average compared to the beginning of April. CRC now starts at €2,800/t and may reach €2,850/t delivered, while HRC is at €2,650-2,700/t delivered depending on tonnage, sources say. Given the lack of CRC availability, values are expected to reach €2,900/t delivered in May.

Despite supply issues, the entire value chain is enjoying high margins and “an explosion” in demand for flat products, particularly sheets, sources observe. Deliveries for flat re-rolled products span to the first quarter of 2022. Demand is less significant for stainless tubes, although prices are also increasing by €100 in May, sources say.

Natalia Capra France