Prices for stainless finished flats and tube products are in limbo as the European market is dealing with a wave of pessimism, destocking and low sales volumes.
Distribution and service centre sources tell Kallanish that the fall in nickel prices in recent months has been responsible for low prices and uncertainty in the stainless market. Mills are quoting short delivery times and are struggling to fill order books for October and November. While apparent demand has fallen, European stocks are said to be increasing as the distribution sector is committing itself little to medium-term purchases and is only buying small quantities “… if they buy.”
As high coil imports from Asian countries are continuing, European stainless coil prices are low with poor visibility. Hot rolled coil is at €1,850/tonne ($2,117/t) delivered on average while cold rolled coil is at €2,050-2,060/t delivered, sources suggest.
Alloy surcharges remain on a downward trend and November values are also projected to decline by the main European mills. The fourth quarter is forecast to be a loss-maker for most players in the stainless market, Kallanish hears.