Asian cold-rolled stainless steel prices continued to rally in the week to Jan. 22, benefiting from a strong nickel price and a rise in China’s domestic market.
S&P Global Platts assessed 304 grade 2mm 2B stainless CRC prices at $2,310/mt CFR in East and Southeast Asian ports on January 22, up $20/mt from the previous week.
Market sentiment boosted by strong nickel price
Market sentiment was boosted by strong nickel prices, which rose above $18,000/mt during the week. The official nickel spot price on the London Metal Exchange closed at $18,370/mt on January 21, up $419/mt from the previous week.
Spot market for stainless steel continued to trend upwards in China
The spot stainless steel market in China continued to trend upward, supported by price increases from leading mills and a positive outlook. Spot prices in southern China rose by as much as 200-600 yuan/mt ($31-$93/mt) during the week.
“Mills are supporting the market with some increases in their list prices,” said a domestic trader. Given the firm raw material costs, the stainless steel market was expected to remain high, although demand slowed as the Lunar New Year holiday approached, he said.
Offer levels were $2,200-$2,250/mt FOB China for immediately deliverable cargoes, market sources said. A leading Chinese mill offered $2,310-$2,320/mt FOB for late April to early May deliveries.
Market participants await new offers from Taiwan
Market participants were waiting for new offers from Taiwanese mills for March deliveries after selling out February deliveries. Prices were likely to be raised further to above $2,300/mt CFR, a regional trader said.
The most actively traded stainless steel contract for March 2021 on the Shanghai Futures Exchange was at 14,085 yuan/mt on January 22, up 115 yuan/mt or 0.8% from the previous week.
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