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Asian Stainless CRC Falls on Weakened Sentiment

Asian stainless cold-rolled coil prices dropped further in the week to Aug 20, amid weakened market sentiment on declines seen in nickel prices and Chinese domestic market.

S&P Global Platts assessed 304 grade 2 mm 2B stainless CRC at $3,050/mt CFR East and Southeast Asian ports on Aug. 20, down $50/mt on the week.

Nickel prices dropped to below the $19,000/mt mark during the week, with the official nickel cash price on the London Metal Exchange settled at $18,476/mt on Aug. 19, down $1,064/mt week on week.

Chinese domestic market saw further declines over the week, in line with the major fall in upstream raw material prices. Spot market fell by some Yuan 600-700/mt ($92-$108/mt) in the spot market in southern China, market sources said.

“The broad steel market saw strong volatility this week. Sentiment is bearish and it’s yet to see a clear outlook now,” said a Chinese trader.

Major mills haven’t announced the new export offers, while overseas buyers were not keen to book amid a falling market. Although Chinese prices, around the $3,000/mt FOB for immediate delivery cargo, remained competitive, sellers were cautious due to the ongoing concerns about potential export duty, said another trader. It remained doubtful whether export duty would be implied soon, he said.

The most actively-traded September stainless steel contract on the Shanghai Futures Exchange was at Yuan 17,640/mt on Aug. 20, down Yuan 600/mt, or 3.3%, on the week.