Stainless Steel & Alloy Pipe, Fittings & Flanges

FT Graff

BD & SCM - Fittings, Flanges, Alloys & Oilfield Supply

ssalloypff@mrcglobalinsight.com

Global demand for stainless steel is expected to increase in 2014, while an uptick in North American requirements is expected to be driven by downstream MRO and project activity. In particular, natural gas liquid and oil refining, resulting from increasing North American shale production, will combine with industrial manufacturing and power generation projects to create increased demand through 2014 and into 2015.

Pricing for stainless and nickel alloys is expected to increase through 2014. This is being attributed to inflation in raw nickel costs compelled by Indonesian restrictions on the export of laterite ore. Laterite ore is a key component in the Chinese production of nickel pig iron and is likely to impact their leverage within the world market. Another factor influencing nickel inflation is the recent United States and European Union sanction against Russia, which limits Russa's ability to sell nickel into the global market and could potentially lead to disruptions in supply. Recent nickel prices have increased from 2013 lows of $6.25/lb. to more recent prices of $7.50/lb. Stainless steel scrap has also experienced inflation commensurate with raw nickel increases. The London Metal Exchange currently boasts stock approaching 260 metric tons. Although global demand is expected to increase in 2014, supply is expected to keep up with demand. This should limit the effects of Indonesian restrictions related to raw nickel pricing.

In the US, welded stainless steel pipe is likely to see some pricing inflation due to the anti-dumping filings against Thailand, Malaysia and Vietnam that are expected to be finalized in mid - 2014. The anticipated dumping margins are estimated within the follow ranges:

  • Thailand: 23.77% - 24.01%
  • Malaysia: 22.67% - 22.73%
  • Vietnam: 89.40% - 90.80%

Also, in the US, we have seen an increase in distributor inventories of stainless steel and nickel alloy pipe, fittings and flanges. These increased stocking levels will help to satisfy the increased demand in 2014.

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