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Stainless Prices Remain High, as Hot-Rolled Prices Slip

Stainless Prices Remain High, as Hot-Rolled Prices Slip

Friday, December 8, 2006
 
An Associated Press article blames high import levels from China and Russia, slashed production by automakers and a housing-market slowdown for bulging inventories at steel wholesalers and service centers. The result, it says, was an average spot market price for hot-rolled steel sheet of around $565 per ton in November, a drop of around 6 percent from October prices. Inventory levels are at 3.6 months. Some steelmakers—Arcelor Mittal USA and U.S. Steel to name two—have cut production as a result of the high inventories, either by taking prolonged maintenance outages or by idling furnaces altogether. Steel analyst Michelle Applebaum, quoted in the article, expects the inventory issue to be resolved by February. Meanwhile, stainless-steel sheet prices, already at near-record high levels, may move even higher by January, due to skyrocketing nickel prices on the London Metal Exchange in October and November, according to MEPS Intl. However, thinking a bit longer term, MEPS expects nickel consumption as well as prices to decline through the first quarter of 2007, and sheet prices for stainless steel to trend downward as well.

 

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