Stainless Espresso: Stainless steel prices in the EU continue to rise
Stainless Espresso: Stainless steel prices in the EU continue to rise

2 May 2022 – After the EU stainless steel producers had already increased the alloy surcharges for May by nearly 20%, a large Italian stainless steel producer is now following suit and increasing prices by more than 43% in some cases. Nickel production remains under pressure after the publication of new figures. At the same time, Russia prohibits the listing of Russian nickel overseas.

EU stainless steel producers raise prices

The Italian stainless steel producer Marcegaglia has raised prices significantly as of 2 May 2022. For tubes, sections and decorative products, prices have gone up by more than 43% compared to the previous year’s prices from July 2021.

The Group cites increased raw material and manufacturing costs, not only for input material such as stainless steel coils, but also cost increases in processing, as the background.

Price increases also planned by Asian stainless steel producers

Several Asian stainless steel producers report that further price increases could be expected for May, but especially June. Already in April 2022, some Asian manufacturers had raised their prices, in some cases significantly.

Nickel production under further pressure?

After Indonesia recently announced an expansion of nickel production for 2022, 53% of all new mining licences applied for – including more than 100 nickel projects – were rejected by the Indonesian government. Whether this means that the demand for new nickel processors in Indonesia can be met in the long term remains questionable.

Nickel outlook realistic?

It also remains to be seen whether the mining group will be able to achieve its targets for the nickel outlook for 2022, as Glencore has already fallen well short of its own forecasts and market expectations in 2019, 2020 and 2021.

Norilsk Nickel unable to increase production

The figures of the Russian producer Norilsk Nickel also do not give hope for enormous increases in production. The mining group was only able to report a 10% increase for the first quarter of 2022. And that only because two important nickel mines and a production plant had failed in the same quarter of 2021, massively limiting production at that time.

Russian nickel may no longer be listed oversea

As recently as April 2022, Russian President Vladimir Putin had signed a decree that Russian nickel stocks may no longer be listed on foreign commodity exchanges.

EU: Chinese aluminium imports increase significantly

Aluminium imports from China to the European Union have increased significantly since the anti-dumping measure on flat-rolled aluminium products was suspended. The latest EU import statistics could therefore further accelerate an end to the anti-dumping suspension.

Will imports reach 2019 levels in 2022?

If the increase in Chinese imports continues at such a strong pace, the volumes from 2019 could already be reached again in the next few months. We fear that the market watchdogs of the European Commission will also have noticed this in the meantime, after the EU aluminium producers have already loudly called for an end to the suspension.

In view of these developments, one should already start looking for possible alternatives.

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