Stainless Steel surcharges surge upwards

With Chromium prices increasing stainless steel surcharges for February were expected to rise but the announced figures were even higher than anticipated. When European benchmark Ferrochrome prices were released in December for first quarter 2017 with a 50% increase it was only a matter of time before the effected stainless steel prices. Because of the way European surcharges are calculated it was too late to make little if any difference to January surcharges, but for February it was expected to take the full hit.

Today's surcharges did just that with the figures as follows

304 / 1.4301 1230 GBP 1434 EUR

316 / 1.4404 1671 GBP 1947 EUR

430 / 1.4016 695 GBP 810 EUR

These show increases as follows from January levels 1.4301 304 +94 EUR +96 GBP 1.4016 430 +186 EUR +167 GBP 316 +86 GBP +74 EUR.

Ferritic grades of stainless steel generally have no Nickel in the them as a result they are often not effected by surcharges as much, but with higher levels of Chromium typically 18% for 430 and around 11% for 409 / 1.4512 these are having a bigger impact. Ferritic grades are used in applications such as budget catering applications, window hinges, car exhausts and many applications such as wear resistant plates especially using grade 1.4003 stainless steel. The austenitic grades have not been spared an increase but with other key elements included in the surcharges including Nickel and for 316 Molybdenum the Chrome increase has a lesser effect.

In anticipation of these increases many companies have been looking to source material in January at lower levels thus driving up demand and creating shortages. Although nobody can predict the long term pricing of stainless steel its expected that prices will remain buoyant at least into the second half of 2017.

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