Market Intelligence Report - September 2022

While the war in Ukraine and China ́s Covid-related lockdown in Shanghai caused the biggest challenges in our last market reports with major influence on prices for materials and ferroalloys, we have to shift focus to energy prices now. Although the war in Ukraine continues and China maintains its zero-Covid-strategy, many material prices have normalized to pre-war levels. The political aggression between China and the USA that revolves around Taiwan increases tension globally, but does not show a huge impact on material prices or supply-chains yet.

Market Insights

Materials

Material prices for Aluminum, Nickel, and steel as well as most base metals have reached price levels last seen before the Ukrainian war had started or even lower (as of CW 34). Overall, material prices have retreated for the fourth month in a row, and for some materials are even below pre-Ukraine war levels.

Between June and the end of August, Aluminum prices decreased by 14%. Steel prices also decreased by 16% to 785€/t for EU-hot rolled coil during that time frame while the price of Nickel decreased by 37%. 

The seasonal decline in business activity in the European and U.S. markets and continued macroeconomic uncertainties are putting pressure on the nickel market. During the summer months, the weighted average premium to the exchange price of nickel briquettes halved again, as evidenced by the relevant Metalshub index. Thus, nickel prices have returned to pre-war levels. The question remains open as to whether the absence of the Russian metal at the European market will be a sufficient reason for the quotations to go up in autumn amid intensified business activity. 

Ferroalloys

The decline in demand for ferroalloys in the summer months was caused by a reduction in carbon steel output. Thus, according to worldsteel, global steel production totaled 149.3 million tonnes in July, down almost 7% year-on-year. EU steel production fell 6.7 percent year-on-year to 11.7 million tonnes, including a 2%  decline in Germany to 3 million tonnes. 

The dynamics of ferroalloys price indices from Metalshub during summer months shows the prevalence of the downward price trend in most segments of the market. Thus, the cost of ferrosilicon decreased by more than 25% from May to August, and high-carbon ferromanganese - by 20%.

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