Stainless steel is an important material in most industrial and domestic applications.
Therefore, any fluctuation in the price of stainless steel directly affects most economies. From stainless steel fabrication companies to consumers – they both feel the impact.
Whether you quote the price as:
i. Stainless steel price per pound
ii. Stainless steel price per kg or,
iii. Stainless steel price per ton
There are fundamental factors affecting the latest stainless steel prices.
Let’s look at some underlying factors:
Stainless Steel Alloying Elements
Stainless steel is an alloy containing other elements such as nickel, molybdenum, manganese, etc. Any change in these alloying elements’ prices directly affects the cost of stainless steel.
Take, for instance, the fluctuations in the stainless steel prices witnessed in 2022 were mainly due to nickel.
According to AMG Metal Miner:
- Q1 2022, nickel was 1.8% higher
- Q2 2022, nickel began to stabilize after reaching 25.1% higher
- Q3 2022 the prices dropped by 9.55% and later 8.86% by August
- Q4 2022, prices increased by 3.35% and later 7.3% by December
All these changes directly affected the stainless steel prices.
Fundamentally, you must examine the market trends and prices, especially for the alloying elements in stainless steel. The key alloys include nickel, molybdenum, and chromium.
Stainless Steel Surcharges
Surcharges are additional costs manufacturers add to the base prices of stainless steel materials. Normally, the stainless steel alloy surcharges depend on these key elements:
However, both manganese and iron do not have a significant impact on the stainless steel surcharge rate.
In most cases, the surcharge will vary from one stainless steel manufacturer to another.
At times, a mill will negotiate with customers individually may be to save them from price volatility.
Let’s look at a possible scenario in the U.S.:
In North America, the surcharge for 304 SS flat products may increase to 2950 USD per tonne in January, 2023. On the other hand, the 316 SS flat product may jump to 4480 USD per tonne.
Of course, these had been attributed to the increasing prices in ferrous scrap, nickel, and molybdenum.
Furthermore, if the situation in the U.S. remains the same for these alloying elements through January 2023, the prices may increase by 200 to 300 USD per tonne.
Cost of Producing Stainless Steel Grade
Certain stainless steel grades may require special production requirements. As a result, the price can be slightly higher.
A good example is the 400 stainless steel. During the production process, you will require more time to melt raw material in the furnace.
Of course, this is not the same scenario in the 304 stainless steel. As a result, you will expect to pay more for 400 stainless steel grade.
Extras on Stainless Steel
They may include:
- Specific surface finish
Again, these will also dictate the price of stainless steel. If you want stainless steel to have more “extras”, you will pay more for product. In fact, stainless steel finishes play an integral role in the current market prices.
Stainless Steel Scrap Prices
Stainless steel is a sustainable material. Therefore, we recycle used stainless steel to make new products.
Therefore, stainless steel scrap metal prices also play significant in the pricing. When the scrap prices are high, expect to pay more for the stainless steel.
When it comes to stainless steel scrap prices, the prices vary depending on the region. Take for example in the USA:
- Highest yearly price is about 0.82 USD per pound
- Lowest is about 0.2 USD per pound
- On average the price is about 0.48 USD per pound
Let’s have a quick analysis of:
Stainless Steel Plate Prices
For this particular case, we will analyze different prices in various regions:
|Q1, 2022||· Mid- January: 17,973 RMB/MT
· February: 19,133 RMB/MT
· March: 19,270 RMB/MT
|· January: 1,480 USD/MT
· February: prices increased from 60 to 100 USD/MT
· March: Stainless steel surcharge at 1.3 USD/lb. It was the highest.
|· 1700 to 1800 GBP/MT
· March there 1% increase in prices due to global disruptions due to the war between Ukraine and Russia
|Q4, 2022||· 3244 USD per MT||· 4300 USD per MT||· 3380 USD per MT|
Furthermore, a quick look at stainless steel prices on Alibaba suppliers (Date January 20, 2023). The stainless steel roll for grades 201, 304, 316, and 430, the prices are as follows
- Less than 98 tones the prices range is 1,000 to 1,800 USD per tonne
- 100 to 999 tonnes the prices range is 1,280 to 1,700 USD per tonne
- Above 1,000 tonnes, the price range is 850 to 1,500 per tonne
Well, these prices for stainless steel rolls vary broadly among various suppliers.
According to the information on Metal Miner:
- Stainless steel grade 304, 2B Finish spot price is 2.31/Lb (Date: January 20, 2023)
Cleary, the stainless steel prices vary depending on many prevailing market conditions.
As a leading stainless steel fabricating company, we can help you get the best prices – contact us now.
Global Stainless Steel Market Outlook – Source: Expert Market Research
Hot Rolled Coil Steel Forecast – Source: Statista
Stainless Steel Market 2023 – Source: MarketWatch
Steel Prices – Source: Trade Economics
2023 Steel Price Forecast – Source: General Steel
Stainless Steel Price – Source: Metal Miner
Price of Stainless Steel – Source: RYERSON
SS Price per Pound – Source: Scrap Gators