January / February 2016
Nickel & Stainless
According to Germany-based market
analyst Heinz H. Pariser Alloy Metals &
Steel Market Research, South Africa’s
ferro-chrome production amounted to
3.107 million tonnes in the first three
quarters of last year – a fall of 2.3%
from the January-September 2014 total.
EU-28 charge/HC ferro-chrome imports
dropped 15.8% over the same period
to 1.096 million tonnes, thus providing
a real indication of market conditions.
Meanwhile, EU-28 stainless steel scrap
imports from third countries totalled
353 430 tonnes in the first three quarters
of 2015 for a year-on-year increase of
3.7% while EU-28 exports to third coun-
tries jumped 9.5% to 257 968 tonnes
when making the same comparison.
Regarding latest scrap price indications,
V2A has been fetching typically just
below US$ 900 per tonne while V4A
has been around the US$ 1200 mark.
INOX 18/8 scrap has been command-
ing some US$ 1092 per tonne and INOX
316 nearer US$ 1392.
Demand from the largest consum-
ers – namely, the steel industry – has
remained very muted at the start of
2016. Low-cost stainless steel grades
from Asia are continuing to burden the
European market and make life difficult
for local steelmakers.
China and elsewhere in
In China, dealers have adopted an
aggressive selling stance ahead of the
Chinese New Year holidays while the
stainless steel mills have turned to dis-
counting in their bid to reduce their fin-
ished product stocks in anticipation of
the holiday period. Mill prices elsewhere
in Asia have remained under pressure
not only from the need to make sales
ahead of the holidays but also from
generally sluggish demand.
Meanwhile, major Chinese producer
Taigang has gone to the European
Court of Justice to appeal the Europe-
an Commission’s 24.4% anti-dumping
duty on its stainless cold rolled flat
With global stainless steel melt shop
production amounting to 31.277 mil-
lion tonnes across the first nine months
of 2015 (-0.5% year on year), China
accounted for more than half this total
after increasing its output by 0.7% to
16.13 million tonnes. For the rest of
Asia, however, production fell 0.9%
year on year to 7.069 million tonnes,
according to the International Stainless
Falling nickel and chrome prices have
heaped more pressure on the scrap mar-
ket, with flows of material reduced to a
relative trickle. Stainless steel product
prices remain under pressure and sales
prospects for the mills have not been
helped by the strength of the US dollar.
Latest figures from the International
Stainless Steel Forum indicate that melt
shop production in the Americas climbed
2.3% to 2.146 million tonnes in January-
September last year when compared to
the same period in 2014.
Despite low levels of demand from the stainless steel industry, the molyb-
denum price has recovered slightly to US$ 11 400-11 900 per tonne while
cobalt has thrown off the heavy downward pressure and firmed up to US$
23 500-24 000.
Despite a lack of fresh developments in the high speed steel sector, ferro-
tungsten prices have surged from US$ 21.40-22.20 per kg W to US$
23.50-24 whereas ferro-titanium has lost some ground to US$ 3.72-4
per kg Ti (maximum 4.5% Al) at the time of writing. The ferro-vanadium
price, meanwhile, has moved up to US$ 14-14.50 per kg V.