Stainless Steel in 2022
2021 was a bumpy ride for the stainless steel industry worldwide and 2022 looks to bring much of the same. Substantial growth in selling prices have benefited steelmakers who, despite steady increases in input costs, are posting strong profits over the past year after consecutive quarters of growth.
Despite a slowing-down of activity towards the end of 2021, the majority of market participants are optimistic about prospects for 2022. That said, there is a division of opinion when it comes to the outlook for stainless steel prices and demand in the short term. Stainless steel buyers have become more cautious in their purchasing decisions in the past few months. Business operations in 2022 will continue to be challenged due to several factors, including supply chain constraints, rising inflation and the continuing spread of the Omicron Covid variant.
At the end of 2021, the price of stainless steel remained at an elevated level across the world. The MEPS European average basis value for 304 cold-rolled coils stood equal to the record recorded in January of 2007, while the comparable figure in the US is at its highest level in 14 years.
The forward view on stainless steel prices globally is becoming more pessimistic; coil products are of particular concern as these were subject to the steepest price hikes in recent months. While there is no crash predicted in transaction values for stainless steel, costs are expected to decrease more slowly than the increases seen during 2021.
MEPS predicts that the transaction values for European flat products, especially cold-rolled sheets and coils, will increase in the early months of 2022 due to availability remaining limited. A softening in demand, coupled with gradually increasing inventories of most sizes and grades, is forecast to restrict the levels of price rises that stainless steel buyers will accept.
Elsewhere, anticipated decreases in the cost of raw materials in Asia will exert negative pressure on sale values, enhanced by seasonal low demand. Cuts in output in this region will however restrict supply and limit the size of any decreases in selling price.
BS Stainless will continue to supply top-quality stainless steel products to our global client portfolio at the most competitive market price possible. For more updates on the ever-changing situation, along with lots of other industry news and special features, please subscribe to our free newsletter and follow us on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. BS Stainless: your partner for stainless steel.