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European stainless steel surcharges halt falling trend in September

Monthly alloy surcharges on austenitic grades of stainless steel flat-rolled products in Europe are set to rise in September for the first time in five months on higher nickel and molybdenum prices, first mill announcements indicated.

Finland’s Outokumpu, the continent’s largest producer, set its alloy adjustment factor for type 304 (4301) flat products at Eur1,109/mt ($1,304/mt) for September, up a marginal Eur4 from August.

This marks the first month-on-month rise since April, when the 304 surcharge hit a five-year high of Eur1,455/mt.

Dollar-denominated nickel prices on the London Metal Exchange have pushed well above $11,000/mt in recent days to hit eight-month highs, up from 2017 lows below $8,700/mt in mid-June.

The LME nickel cash settlement price has averaged $10,573/mt for August to date, up 11.5% from $9,482/mt in July.

Outokumpu’s surcharge for molybdenum-bearing type 316 (4401) flat products was set at Eur1,597/mt for September, up Eur41 from August and also the first monthly rise since April, when the surcharge peaked at Eur2,021/mt.

Spot molybdenum oxide prices rose steadily through the second half of July and the first half of August, having bottomed out at around $7/lb in early July, based on S&P Global Platts assessments.

Prices hit four-month highs just shy of $9/lb earlier this month, but have since slipped back to $8.10-$8.20/lb.

Outokumpu’s surcharge for nickel-free type 430 flat products continued to fall, however, set at Eur566/mt for September — the lowest level since last December, down Eur54 from the previous month.

The European benchmark ferrochrome price negotiated between producers and steel mills was settled at 110 cents/lb for third-quarter 2017, down 44 cents, or 28.6%, from the previous quarter and from 165 cents/lb in Q1.
Source: Platts

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