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Demand for stainless steel high, markets optimistic

Date 20-02-2022 Views: 1720

The demand for stainless steel remains high. The continuing bullish mood on the stock markets in Asia and North America, but also in Europe, is contributing to this. Stainless steel futures on the SHFE have risen by 12% since the beginning of the year. And a further increase in demand is expected. The chips industry is reporting record growth for 2021 – which should please the automotive industry. And the commodity markets, especially nickel futures, are still strongly up.

Stock markets in Asia and North America send positive signals

Asian stock markets are mostly higher today (Wednesday) after Wall Street sent largely positive signals overnight and geopolitical concerns eased after news that Russia is pulling some troops from the Ukrainian border.

Stainless steel futures continue to rise sharply – supply tight

Chinese stainless steel futures rose to their highest level in more than three months on Wednesday, boosted by high input costs and optimism about demand.

The most-traded stainless steel for March delivery on the Shanghai Futures Exchange rose as much as 3.7% per tonne, the highest since late October 2021.

SHFE stainless steel up 12% in 2022 already

Shanghai stainless steel has gained 12% this year, eclipsing other commodities in China’s main metal-consuming complex, as prices for nickel, a key raw material, have risen sharply due to a very tight supply.

Strong demand from Chinese downstream companies after this month’s Spring Festival is expected to further support prices.

Tight supply pushes HRC prices higher

HRC is currently in short supply in the CIS states, causing prices to rise there, according to market sources.

Chip industry with strong growth

According to Deutsche Bank, about 1.15 trillion semiconductor units were shipped worldwide last year. Global semiconductor sales thus rose by 26 percent compared to the previous year to 556 billion US dollars – a record value. Analysts also expect that sales could rise by up to 14% in 2022. This should particularly please the semiconductor-sensitive automotive industry, which is sitting on a large mountain of orders to be processed.

Base Metals: Nickel continues to rise

Prices for nickel, aluminium, zinc and copper rose again at the start of trading on the LME today. Nickel in particular is back above $24,000 per tonne with an increase of currently more than 3%. Copper is at more than $10,000 per tonne. Aluminium and zinc are up by more than 2% and 1.4% respectively.

Base metal prices and also those for HRC and stainless steel had already developed positively at the SHFE. As already mentioned, stainless steel is the front-runner here today with a gain of 3.35% at the close of trading. HRC futures also continue to rise.

Spot prices for Chinese stainless steel are up again by up to 1%. Prices for scrap are also rising by more than 0.75%.


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