Despite the volatile market, companies in the supply chain enjoyed strong financial results. In most cases, some of the profits made earlier in the year melted in the conditions experienced in the August-December period, but most companies remain strong.
Despite the slowdown in activity in the second half of this year, many global market participants remain cautiously optimistic about 2023 prospects. However, most agree that geopolitical and economic issues will continue to pose downside risks to the industry.
Also, destocking activity between distributors and service centers is likely to continue until at least January. Combined with the expectations of decreasing demand in the automotive and white goods sectors, this may cause purchasing conditions to stagnate in the first quarter.
However, as the end of 2022 approaches, stainless steel prices remain higher than pre-pandemic values in all regions.
In East Asia, the highest prices this month are in Japan, where the sales values of 304 cold rolled coils have increased by more than 50% and sales values of 316 cold rolled coils have increased by more than 40% since December 2021. South Korea and Taiwan sales values are also at the same level.
2022 prices in the US were heavily influenced by movements in manufacturers' alloy surcharges. However, this, combined with reductions in buyers' discount levels, has resulted in the US having some of the highest global stainless prices.