RESEARCH: Stainless price rally picks up speed

The latest forecasts from Fastmarkets' team of analysts is ready to view.

We spoke in our previous tracker of stainless steel prices ending 2020 on a high. That trend has continued during early 2021 and, in fact, the upward rally in prices has increased its momentum.

Compared with the monthly price increase of some 5% seen at the end of 2020, prices for grade-304 stainless steel in all major markets have increased by an even-more-impressive 15% since the turn of the year, with prices boosted by rising alloy surcharges and base prices.

The rise in alloy surcharges is an automatic component of stainless steel prices, of course, and reflects changes in the cost of iron and nickel in particular over the past month. These increases are, in turn, directly passed on to the consumer. And surcharges look likely to remain elevated, if not to increase further, through the first half of this year – particularly given the pricing moves seen in the chrome market in January.

Base prices increasing is an interesting phenomenon, however, given that stainless steelmakers in both Europe and the United States have struggled to increase them in any sustained manner since late 2019. That dynamic may now be changing, however, as we discuss in our regional analyses this month.
While not in as strong a position as their counterparts in the carbon steel industry, stainless steelmakers in Europe and the US look set to enjoy rising margins over the coming months as they benefit from reduced competition from imports and some early signs of a pick-up in local demand.

Click here to view the Stainless Steels Tracker in full. If you are not a subscriber, but would like to see a free sample report, please click here.

What to read next
Fastmarkets has launched daily inferred prices for black mass in South Korea and Europe, starting on Friday December 8.
The US Department of Treasury has released its definition of a Foreign Entity of Concern (FEOC) for the purposes of the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) – and there are big implications for nickel.
Nearly 18 months since the first nickel-related lawsuit was filed against it in the English High Court, the London Metal Exchange has been cleared on all grounds and the charges against it dismissed.
Western Australia (WA), Australia’s largest state, will evaluate the possibility of developing cathode active materials (CAM) production once precursor CAM (pCAM) output is up and running, Bill Johnston, the state’s Minister of Mines and Petroleum, told Fastmarkets
Eight key takeaways from our global battery raw material outlook that you should know for 2024 and beyond
Fastmarkets presents the key discussion topics across the battery raw materials sector ahead of Fastmarkets’ China Battery Raw Materials conference taking place in Shanghai on December 6-7