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Chinese Stainless Rallies on Higher Raw Material Prices, Robust Demand

Stainless steel prices in southern China’s Foshan spot market continued to rise on the month in June, on the back of higher raw material costs and healthy demand.

S&P Global Platts assessed grade 304, 3 mm thick hot-rolled coil at Yuan 16,500/mt ($2,556/mt) ex-warehouse June 25, up Yuan 350/mt on the month.

Grade 304, 2 mm thick cold-rolled coil was assessed at Yuan 17,800/mt ex-warehouse, up Yuan 1,200/mt on the month.

The increase in June was mainly supported by strong raw material prices and healthy demand in both domestic and export markets and well-balanced supply-demand fundamentals, said a China-based trader. Some mills had raised their new list prices for domestic sales, but there are rising concerns about how sustained the market would be after rising so much, he said. “It might not be a surprise to see some corrections in July,” said a second trader.

Platts assessed nickel-free grade 430/2B CRC 2 mm thick at Yuan 9,625/mt ex-warehouse, up Yuan 200/mt on the month.

Nickel prices have been stronger in June. The official nickel cash price on the London Metal Exchange settled at $18,192/mt on June 24, up $905/mt on the week and $828/mt month on month.

Separately, Platts assessed 304-grade 2 mm 2B stainless CRC at $2,850/mt CFR East and Southeast Asian ports June 25, up $50/mt week on week. The increase mainly reflected higher mills’ offers and rising domestic market in China.

— Dai Yuelin