Metals prices have been on the up again, driven by strong demand in China:
In particular Nickel has risen to levels touched at the start of the year, but not held consistently for 5 years.
Stainless Steel demand in China is reported to be strong and stocks have been drawing down. China accounts for 50% of world capacity and consumption.
The US market is reported strong also and the EU markets are busy on the back of improved economic data.
Some potential supply constraints have encouraged speculative investment in Nickel and potential demand from electric car batteries added to the interest and this has been a driver of the price increases also. If speculative investors move away, this will cap the price increases and the price must rest on fundamentals alone.
At the end of September, the quarterly ferro-chrome price for Q4 is due and the indications are that this will add further to the Stainless Alloy Surcharge.
As anticipated, Stainless Steel producers have followed the pick up in demand with base increases and in the UK the lower £ means that mills will push the increases through.
Stocks have run down earlier in 2017 and through the summer, so a pick up in demand and re-stocking could see end users facing longer lead times.