December 9, 2021 – Manufacturing in the US continued to grow for the 18th consecutive month. This is shown by data from the Manufacturing ISM Report for November 2021. Scrap prices for stainless steel are keeping strong. Aluminium production in China holding steady, but demand expected to pick up. Chinese stainless steel producers enter maintenance soon.

Stainless Espresso: US manufacturing sector continues to grow in Nov 2021
Stainless Espresso: US manufacturing sector continues to grow in Nov 2021

US: New orders, production and employment grow

The US economy has grown since April 2020, according to the Institute for Supply Management’s latest Manufacturing ISM Report for November 2021 on Business. The manufacturing PMI® registered a reading of 61.1 per cent in November, up 0.3 percentage points from October’s reading of 60.8 per cent.

Moderate to strong growth in November 2021

All six of the largest manufacturing sectors – computer and electronic products, food, beverages and tobacco, chemical products, petroleum and coal products, fabricated metal products, and transportation equipment, in that order – posted moderate to strong growth in November.

Strong stainless steel scrap prices in the United States

US scrap prices for 300-series stainless steel have continued to increase since the beginning of December, rising by approximately 1.5%. Strong demand is still expected to hold into the new year. Scrap prices for the 400 series also continue to hold at a consistently high level.

China: Aluminium production steady, demand expected to pick up

Chinese aluminium production fell by about 3% in November 2021 compared to the same month last year. An accident at an aluminium plant in Yunnan province and production cuts in Guangxi and Chongqing contributed to the decline. Some compensation was achieved by aluminium smelters in Henan, Yunnan and Inner Mongolia provinces, which were allowed to restart production after end of power restrictions.

Aluminium demand in December 2021 expected to pick up

No significant change in aluminium production is expected for December, but the downstream aluminium processing industry should be able to increase production again in Jiangsu, Zhejiand and Henan provinces. The end of energy rationing there and the need to replenish stocks due to currently attractive prices should have an impact on aluminium availability.

Chinese stainless steel production to fall significantly in January 2022

Due to traditional maintenance work in Chinese stainless steel plants, production volumes are expected to fall significantly in January 2022. This could put additional pressure on Chinese stainless steel production, which has already been restricted by the government due to the Winter Olympics until March 2022.

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