Stainless Steel: Prices and Demand Continue to Rise

As the global economy continues to bounce back in the wake of the COVID-19 crisis, the worldwide demand for metal continues to increase. This, along with many other related factors, is causing prices to rise across the board.

The market price of all metals continues to increase, including those for galvanised steel aluminium and, most importantly to BS Stainless and our clients, for stainless steel. Materials are in severe short supply, resulting in further extensions on lead times. Many companies across the spectrum of industry are struggling to meet the demand for their products.

Vehicle production has been hit hard; the current shortage of semic­on­ductor chips has been further complicated with a reduced steel supply. Producers of drinks cans are also feeling the effects as all aluminium surplus has gone from the market: President of the Ball Corporation Daniel Fisher said that the company is 'capacity-constrained', adding that he anticipated "demand continuing to outstrip supply well into 2023."

After a temporary lull, global freight shortages are once again an issue. Freight prices are on the rise once again, adding further cost to both materials and finished goods. Almost all sectors of industry that rely on a continuous supply of metal have been affected by the price rises. Though the catering and brewing sectors have been quieter than usual due to COVID-19, the gradual reopening of these sectors will result in increased demand for materials, especially stainless steel.

Results of a recent survey compiled by data company IHS Markit showed that construction activity in the UK expanded at a rapid rate last month, almost matching the 6.5-year record hit in March when COVID-19 restrictions were eased. IHS Markit's Economics Director Tim Moore said: "The UK construction sector is experiencing its strongest growth phase for six-and-a-half years, with the recovery now evenly balanced across the house building, commercial and civil engineering categories."

This growth of the construction industry brings increased demand for a wide range of stainless steel products, including wire and strip for wall ties, lintels, wall starters and fixings such as nails and screws.

Both suppliers and manuf­ac­turers will be facing a challenging time in the coming months due to the short supply of materials and increased prices. BS Stainless will continue to work to the very best of our ability for our clients in these turbulent times.

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