Source: Steel Guru, August 6, 2009
Japan's stainless steel producers are contemplating offering a price increase of USD 150 to USD 2,800 per tonne CNF in their export deals of nickel based CR sheets for September to October 2009 shipments to Asian destinations, mainly to China. They are expected to start their export negotiations with local customers next week.
For the price increase to offer, the Japanese steelmakers are taking account of two main factors. First, China's major stainless steel manufacturer Taiyuan Iron & Steel Group Co has executed a major domestic price increase for nickel based CR sheets. Second, European stainless steel producers, too, have executed a considerable price increase each in what they sell.
TISCO has increased its sales price of Ni based CR sheets this week by CNY 1,000 per tonne to CNY 21,920 per tonne after value added tax. The new price indicates an advance of as much as CNY 6,500 (USD 956) from a low of CNY 15,420 per tonne after VAT in the first week of April. The pace of TISCO's price increase has accelerated since June, with a cumulative increase of translating into USD 600 per tonne in two months.
It is strong domestic demand in China that permits TISCO's major price increase. Local users find it increasingly difficult to secure what they require as Ni based stainless CR sheets even though five stainless steel majors including Tisco are operating their works at capacity. The five stainless steel majors' combined production totaled 573,000 tons in June, of which CR sheets accounted for 220,000 tonnes and HR sheets 353,000 tonnes. As a result, their production in June was close to three time as much as what they put out in April.
For an indicator of China's stainless steel stocks, ones in the Wuxi area totaled 166,000 tonnes in late July, up from 130,000 tonnes in June. But there are no signs of surplus stocks in the Wuxi area. Besides, the Wuxi stainless steel market has advanced to CNY 21,600 per tonne after VAT until now.
In Europe, meanwhile, various stainless steel producers have executed a considerable price increase each in what they sell. As a result, the going prices of Ni based CR sheets by the ton stand at a level of EUR 2,150 to EUR 2,200 after separate increases in the base price and in the surcharge. Spain's Acerinox SA is said to have raised its operations from 50% to 75% of capacity. Also, Finland's Outokumpu Oy is reported to have sold out its production up to October.