Towards the closure of Q4, the Stainless Steel Round Bar prices showcased a declining trend in the US market owing to the higher inventory level and limited downstream demand outlook. In October, the downstream buyers remain observant of drawing down inventories across all products through the end of the year. With falling scrap prices, mills had tried to remain competitive with import offers as downstream demand from new projects had not warranted additional spot buys or bookings of more significant imports, along with rising financing costs. Participants in the US Stainless Steel market were optimistic about the new year, but spot prices remained lower than they were during the previous summer and fall seasons. This winter's activity has slowed significantly, but downstream work appears to be picking up for next year.
In the Chinese market, the Stainless-Steel Round Bar prices showcased a rising trend in the final quarter of 2022 owing to the lower inventory level and firm downstream demand amidst the COVID control and prevention measures. According to market participants, the upstream of stainless steel has decreased. The Stainless Steel Prices increased due to the unexpected arrival in October following the festival, a shortage of some specifications, and the fermentation of raw material supply problems. With a minor adjustment, the stainless-steel market was mostly stable in mid-Q4. In some areas, epidemic prevention and control measures were tightened, and logistics and transportation were halted. Traders and downstream businesses waited and watched, only buying when necessary. Downstream demand was declining toward the end of the year, and market willingness to purchase was low.
Towards the end of the fourth quarter of 2022, Stainless Steel Round Bar prices in the German market displayed a mixed trend due to increased inventory availability and a limited downstream demand outlook. With price volatility on the rise, European steel producers were considering switching to shorter terms with fixed-price contract customers, particularly automakers. Mills attempted to harden their stance to save money. Buyers who ordered December delivery said the material was already available, with lead times as low as two weeks from several mills. Customers were taking a wait-and-see approach due to the current economic uncertainty, and even large buyers were purchasing in smaller quantities than usual. According to a large buyer, lower demand was caused primarily by prices remaining too high, given the significant slowdown in downstream activity. Some mills have stopped providing quotations and will re-enter the market in the first half of January. Domestic prices for SS Round Bar in Europe remained unchanged due to a market slowdown ahead of the Christmas holidays.
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