The MEPS world average stainless steel price is expected to extend its slow recovery due to rising raw material costs and local supply tightness in several regions. The world average price for 304 cold rolled coil increased, marginally, this month, to a figure just 3.6 per cent below the number recorded one year ago.
Raw material costs are expected to grow, moderately, from their current levels. The LME average nickel price is forecast to be around 15 per cent higher in the coming year than in the previous twelve month period.
Transaction values in Asia are expected to be quite stable, in the next two quarters, before rising gently, boosted by inventory building, to a peak in mid-2017. Selling figures are likely to soften, in the summer months.
In Europe, increases in basis prices are likely to be restricted, over the next twelve months, by surplus production capacity and competition from imports. Predicted increases in mill input expenditure should lead to rising transaction values, in early 2017. A seasonal, downward price trend is anticipated as the summer holiday period approaches.
In North America, US government tariffs on Asian imports will continue to tighten supply of cold rolled coil and put upward pressure on basis figures. Anticipated rises in raw material costs should result in further increases in transaction values, during the first half of next year. The effective price for type 304 cold rolled coil is forecast to be 6 per cent higher, in August 2017, than this month’s figure.