Market Intelligence Report - December 2022

A glimpse of hope is clearly visible at the horizon with good news coming in from different directions. Despite the signs of improvement, inflation in the eurozone continues near record highs at 10,7% in October, mainly driven by energy and food prices. This puts further pressure on the ECB to continue its course of rising interest rates.

Market Insights

Materials

The price decrease in material prices for Aluminum, Nickel and Steel as well as most base metals continues. For Aluminum, Steel and many other base metals, prices decreased by 10-20% on average compared to pre-Ukraine war levels while the price of Nickel has started to rise again (as of CW 48)!

In contrast to the long term perspective, focusing on the last three months between September and the end of November, Aluminum prices have increased by 3% while Steel prices decreased by 23% to 620€/t for EU-hot rolled coil during that time frame. The price of Nickel increased by 32%. The Nickel price is especially facing turbulent times with daily price changes up to 15%, going both up and down. This was triggered by concerns about tight nickel supply combined with low liquidity. LME is about to conduct enhanced monitoring of nickel trading after prices fell in mid-November in volatile and illiquid conditions.

Ferroalloys

At the end of the summer holidays, the ferroalloy markets did not experience the typical seasonal increase in activity. Quotations were down in most segments. Only in November, as large customers began purchasing ferroalloys as part of their long-term contracts for next year, sellers were able to achieve an increase in some segments, but only marginally.

As before, the main reason for the fall in ferroalloys prices is the decline in carbon steel production in most of the world amid an uncertain outlook for consumption in 2023. Over January-October, global steel output fell by 4% YoY. In China, the steel production declined by 2.2% versus last year.

Record levels of inflation in the Eurozone and the US are causing concern in both financial and commodity markets.

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