China’s stainless steel export prices rise after rebate removal, gains in nickel

Export prices for Chinese stainless steel increased sharply on Wednesday May 12 due to the the removal of China’s 13% export rebate and the rising nickel prices on the London Metal Exchange.

The LME three-month nickel contract ended the official trading session on Wednesday at $17,942 per tonne, up by $680 per tonne from $17,262 per tonne on April 28.

Domestic
Stainless steel cold-rolled coil 2mm grade 304 domestic (Wuxi): 16,500-17,300 yuan ($2,558-2,682) per tonne, up by 1,200-1,500 yuan per tonne.

End users booked only limited tonnages at the high prices, with little demand for restocking, sources said.

Exports
Stainless steel cold-rolled coil 2mm grade 304 export: $2,750-2,770 per tonne fob China, up by $580 per tonne
Stainless hot-rolled coil grade 304 export: $2,750-2,770 per tonne fob China, up by $580 per tonne

China lifted the export rebate for stainless steel on May 1, resulting in a sharp increase in export prices.

One a few buyers in Australia booked stainless CRC from China to replenish inventories because of their concerns that trade tensions between China and Australia might interrupt the steel trade.

Most other buyers took wait-and-see approaches and did not place orders.

Imports
Stainless steel cold-rolled coil 2mm grade 304 import: $2,600-2,630 per tonne cif East Asia, up by $410-420 per tonne
Stainless steel hot-rolled coil grade 304 import: $2,450-2,470 per tonne cif East Asia, up $280-290 per tonne

Indonesian stainless CRC was on offer at $2,600-2,630 per tonne cif East Asia and stainless HRC was on offer at $2,450-2,470 per tonne cif.

Although those prices also increased sharply, they are still more competitive for East Asian buyers than China’s domestic products.

Market participants expect China to import more stainless steel for processing trade in bonded areas because China’s stainless steel has become too expensive since the removal of the rebate.

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