Higher nickel prices drive Taiwanese stainless steel higher

Taiwanese stainless steel producers have raised offers in March amid rising global nickel prices. The strong raw material prices are supporting the positive expectations of Taiwanese stainless producers, Kallanish notes.

Yieh United Steel (Yusco) has lifted its domestic sales prices for stainless 304 hot rolled and cold rolled coil products by TWD 5,000/tonne ($179/t). It has added TWD 2,000/t to stainless 316L products and TWD 1,500/t to stainless 430 products. Export offers for stainless 304, stainless 316L and stainless 430 products will increase by $150-200/t, $80/t and $70-150/t respectively.

Another major stainless steel producer, Walsin Lihwa, also lifted stainless 304, stainless 316, stainless 200 and stainless 400 domestic offers by TWD 5,000/t, TWD 7,000/t, TWD 2,000/t and TWD 1,000/t respectively.

Taiwanese steel mills say the increase was because prices of precious metals such as nickel and copper remain high after the Lunar New Year. In order to reflect the cost, the mills have decided to adjust their prices to keep up with market performance.

The average price of nickel on the London Metal Exchange (LME) in February was between $18,500/t and $18,600/t, around $700/t higher than in January. Although nickel only accounts for about 8% of stainless steel material composition, it accounts for up to 50% of stainless steel production cost, a local steel contact observes.

On Tuesday, the LME nickel price was up 0.6% to $18,682/t at the 5pm close. It touched $20,110/t on 22 February.

By Kallanish Team