Imported stainless steel (SS) prices for India trends remained mixed across grades with 304 and 316 solids increasing and 430 and Zurik dropping in the week ending Tuesday. Nickel gained around $760/mt approximately in a week which drove offers high, especially for 304 and 316 grades. A dip in ferrous scrap prices weighed down on 430 and Zurik prices. Demand continues to be low in India with the lockdown still in place affecting end-user demand and causing supply chain issues for manufacturers.
The weekly Davis Index for 304 (18-8) solids on Tuesday rose by $42/mt to $1,796/mt cfr India port driven by high offers exceeding $1,800 levels. Bids were heard at $1,760-1,780/mt cfr India port. Deals were heard at around $1,780/mr cfr India port on Tuesday. Offers are up, backed by LME nickel gains. The weekly index for 316 on Tuesday settled at $2,404/mt cfr India port, up by $39/mt. EU origin offers were heard around $2,400/mt cfr India port.
Zurik and SS 430 on Tuesday slipped from a week ago. Zurik was, however, supported by a shortage in the market while 430 fell largely by over 6pc in a week. The weekly Davis Index for 430 solids fell by $48/mt to $661/mt cfr India port driven by a drop in bids and decline in ferrous scrap prices. The weekly index for Zurik 85/3 on Tuesday settled at $1,521/mt cfr India port, down by $6/mt. Shortage of material was offset with low demand and bids were heard around $1,480/mt.
SS mills from the MSME segment have reduced their production capacities and are finding it tough to operate amid lockdown restrictions. Many major mills are also running at a lower capacity because of shortage of oxygen cylinders meant for industrial purpose. This has resulted in low demand for SS scrap and lower bids from market participants. With COVID-19 cases dropping, market participants believe that oxygen availability will improve and markets will slowly recover.
For Taiwan SS imports, the weekly index for 304 rose to $1,542/mt cfr Taiwan port, up by $24/mt. Price trends in Taiwan were similar to India’s. The weekly index for 316 settled at $2,240/mt cfr Taiwan port, up by $28/mt. Prices rose on the back of nickel LME gains.
The official three-month LME nickel contract settled at $17,843/mt, up by $760/mt or 4pc in a week. The contract has gained sharply for five straight sessions with Friday’s high jump of $433/mt from Thursday’s levels. LME was closed on Monday.