19 March 2018
Price focus: raw material
STAINLESS STEEL TREND
Analyzing the latest news evident that the nickel quotation in €/ton has largely exceeded the threshold of € 11,000. Furthermore, it seems thatthe new achieved price can become steady or, even further, increase in the short term. In the document Fecr 2016-2018, it is clear how fluctuating it’s the FeCr (Ferro/Cromo = iron / chromium), whose quotation has fallen significantly for the first quarter 2018. Currently the spot quotation is about $/lb 1.30, so proving yet another rebound, but actually the next quarterly contract will give us more clarification. Some rumours speak again of falling, but instability is really accentuated.
- If nickel and FeCr prices remain the same as they are today or increase, it is clear that alloy surcharge values for April will increase again. This is true for 304/316 austenitic steels, while for 430 a certain stability is expected, linked to the weakness of FeCr.
- The upward trend in nickel prices shows that this mineral is also assuming the same increasing trend shown by many other raw materials. This is influenced by the current economic situation, which is showing a slight upturn in all sectors.
- Honestly, looking at the economic circumstance and the value of nickel, prices should have risen more from the beginning of February 2018, instead, they have gone up more shyly because of the influence of lower prices for extra-EU materials, especially those from the Far East arrived in the period December-February 2018. It is a given fact that all the Far East steelworks are asking for significant increases, linked to the current quotation of nickel in dollars, which is exceeding again the threshold of $14,000. – If the increases manage to pass in their entirety, these materials will arrive in June, exerting the relative influence on prices in general. This aspect may have to be compared with the beginning of summer period that last year was extremely DEFLATIONARY for the value of Nickel.
POLYPROPYLENE AND POLYCARBONATE
In this last period, the activity in the PP market is becoming steady after recording remarkable increases during September and November 2017. Instead of in Asia, the rises of futures drive the PP local market higher. It remains to be seen how the oil market will develop in the next months and how this will influence the polymers price.
The PC price is constantly rising due to a lack of raw material in Europe. This problem is caused by the huge demand for material from the Asian market, which is absorbing a large part of the material that was previously destined for Europe. Polycarbonate will reach record prices in the coming months, exceeding the threshold of 3.00€/kg.
Tritan is a new-generation copolyester of the EASTMAN CHEMICAL company. Its main characteristic is to be Bisphenol A free(BPA-FREE). To date, it is undoubtedly the best alternative to polycarbonate. Mori 2A, pending the decision of EFSA, after many tests and obtaining more than satisfactory results, has developed a new line of Gastronorm containers in TRITAN (corresponding to the polycarbonate one) : a copolyester BPA free. Starting from March 15th 2018, the Plastics Business Division of Eastman Chemical Company announced a price increase for all Eastman Tritan copolyesters. This increase is the result of current market dynamics, the escalation of raw materials and energy costs.