In the fourth quarter of 2022, Electrical Steel prices fell in the US market due to limited downstream demand from the steel and alloy segments and logistical concerns. Shippers loaded low weight on a barge in October because the Mississippi River's water level was low. Steel mill closures, limited production and maintenance, and slow replenishment all impacted demand. Furthermore, due to lower demand and less supply chain congestion, freight rates peaked during the quarter and began normalizing. Market participants reported little activity in the spot market as the holiday season approached. Premium level declines slowed in December, with reports of increased consumer inquiries - through the uncertain economic outlook for the first quarter remains a source of concern. A winter storm moving through Western New York also hampered logistics. The storm's aftermath and the disrupted supply chain resulted in limited downstream demand. In December, the price stabilized, but no one was rushing to buy from US mills rather than imports. Electrical Steel (M15-C5) Coil prices for Ex Tijuana and FOB San Diego settled at USD 5127/MT and USD 5193/MT, respectively.
Electrical Steel prices increased in the Chinese market in the fourth quarter of 2022, despite fluctuating raw material costs and COVID control and prevention measures. The social inventory of silicon metal in Huangpu Port, Kunming City, and Tianjin Port fell in October. Manufacturers had limited spot resources and were hesitant to sell at a low price. The pandemic has continued to disrupt the production of local silicon companies. Concurrently, the dry season in Sichuan and Yunnan has raised concerns about rising costs and production cuts in the fourth quarter. As overseas customers aggressively bargained down prices and the RMB appreciated against the US dollar, export orders were light in the overseas market. As downstream producers placed orders based on rigid demand, market trading improved slightly. As the pandemic control in Guangzhou eased in December, the shipment flow through Huangpu Port returned to normal levels. Some Dehong businesses ceased operations in late December 2022, while others cut back during the Chinese New Year. As a result, the price of Electrical Steel (50 WW 800) Coil for Ex. Shanghai was settled at USD 846/MT.
Electrical steel prices rose in the European market in Q4 2022, owing to the strong support from the cost side (semicoke, electricity, and transportation costs increased). Despite a decrease in supply and a shortage of inventory on the supply side in October, enterprises in the production areas resumed production and intake. Some buyers needed to restock, but they preferred to wait for the price to fall to its lowest point before replenishing for the first quarter of 2023. Electrical steel prices in Europe remained under pressure in November due to low demand and an oversupply of imported products. Manufacturers claimed that big buyers had left the market after booking needed volumes in mid-Q4 and that the market was slowing due to the approaching Christmas holidays. However, Stainless Steel (Flat) Prices surged in the last few weeks of December. The mills' bullish outlook was bolstered by several factors, including higher demand in December, expected to rebound further in mid-January; higher energy costs that steelmakers must cover; a lack of competitive import offers; and the effects of steelmakers' 2022 production cuts. As a result, Electrical Steel (50 WW 800) coil prices for Ex. Ruhr (Germany) settled at USD 2283/MT.
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