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Asian Stainless CRC Rises Amid China Rally

Asian stainless cold-rolled coil prices rose in the week to July 16, in line with strong raw material prices and a spike seen in the Chinese domestic market due to production reduction expectations.

S&P Global Platts assessed 304 grade 2 mm 2B stainless CRC at $2,950/mt CFR East and Southeast Asian ports on July 16, up $90/mt on the week.

Nickel prices continued to strengthen, and the official nickel cash price on the London Metal Exchange settled at $18,695/mt on July 15, up $515/mt week on week.

Spot market prices in China increased strongly during the week amid a bullish sentiment due to the Chinese government’s widening efforts to cut steel output across the country, and lower output due to power restrictions in southern China.

It was expected that the spot market could rise further in the near term, given the tightening supply and healthy demand, said a domestic trader. Spot market prices in southern China’s Guangdong province increased as much as Yuan 1,800/mt ($278/mt) week on week.

Exporters were suspending offers due to the sharp increase in the domestic market. Market participants were awaiting new offers from major mills in the July 18 week, and it’s likely to see offers exceeding 3,000/mt FOB level, said another China-based trader.

Meanwhile, a major Taiwanese mill had sold out its allocation for August shipment at $2,900/mt CFR, said a regional trader. Its prices could be higher if it was still offering, in light of the stronger raw material prices and the bullish Chinese domestic market. Demand is still good due to the tight supply, and Taiwanese mills’ new offers in the next round could rise above the $3,000/mt CFR level, he said.

The most actively-traded August stainless steel contract on the Shanghai Futures Exchange was at Yuan 18,740/mt on July 16, up Yuan 1,380/mt, or 7.9%, on the week. The contract had risen by a total of Yuan 2,410/mt in the recent two weeks.

— Analyst Yuelin Dai