Stainless Steel in 2013 - The MEPS Forecast
Formed in 1979, MEPS (Management Engineering and Production Services) are world-leaders in the supply of steel market information. By regularly monitoring 28 worldwide steel markets, MEPS gain unique insights into global production and consumption trends and their published facts and figures are now used as benchmark values for a multitude of steelmaker/customer contracts.
The most recent worldwide stainless steel production forecast by MEPS predicts a moderate overall increase during 2013. Developing markets, including India and China, are tipped to show the most significant growth while established stainless steel-making countries in America, The Far East and Europe will see more marginal rises and falls. This will be a disappointment to many producers and distributors who had hoped for an upturn after the global financial crisis began in 2008.
Continuing to subdue mid-term industrial demand throughout Europe, the Eurozone crisis appears far from resolution while observers in the USA have expressed concern that the impending 'fiscal chill', spending cuts and tax increases that attempt to reduce the budget deficit, will delay the return to significant economic growth. The Chinese government have recently introduced stimulus measures that are expected to assist with the continued expansion of stainless steel production though at a lower rate than in recent years.
European and North American mills have recently begun to announce some basic price increases on austenitic flat products. This is intended to introduce a profitable element into their operations, something that has been lacking for a long time. Though currently unsupported by an uptick in terms of real demand, preliminary figures indicate that basis values will be raised in a matter of months.
MEPS also anticipate that the cash figure for LME nickel will shift in between the range of $17,000 and $21,000 per tonne in 2013, with a top-out predicted for the second quarter of the year. An estimated average value of around $2,000 per tonne this year means that the maximum value is not expected to be significantly greater than in 2012. The basis and transaction prices of grade 304 cold-rolled stainless steel coil are predicted to reach maximum value during the second trimester of 2013 and are expected to be slightly higher than recorded figures for the same time period in 2012.
There is no doubt that the base price of stainless steel is very low, causing mills to lose money and cut back production to compensate. Increased demand over the coming months may lead to a shortage which in turn will lead to a spike in prices. Though nickel prices have stayed fairly flat, a general commodity rally may increase these and create an upward drive in surcharges in the second half of 2012.
BS Stainless Ltd will continue to provide only the highest quality stainless steel products at the most competitive prices throughout the changing trends in the market. As global suppliers of stainless steel strip coil, stainless steel banding, welding wire, stainless steel sheet and Aluzinc, we will also keep at the forefront of these changes to ensure we maintain our impressive reputation.
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