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A recently published report in early September 2023 provided valuable insights into the stainless steel market, specifically focusing on trends within China. According to the report, China's domestic stainless steel prices experienced an upswing, primarily influenced by factors such as a surge in the domestic property market and rising nickel futures. Additionally, the data indicated a significant increase in stainless steel output in August, with promising prospects for September.
The report highlighted two key drivers behind the rise in China's domestic stainless steel prices. Firstly, there was increased activity in the domestic property market, particularly in major cities like Beijing and Shanghai. Towards the end of the week preceding the report, certain restrictions on housing transactions were lifted. Under the new regulations, even if a family already has a mortgage loan, individual members can still be considered first-time home buyers if there are no registered homes in their name. This policy change led to heightened buying interest, especially in first-tier cities.
Secondly, nickel prices also experienced an upward trend during the first week of September due to concerns over a potential mining suspension in Indonesia. These two factors combined supported a bullish sentiment in the steel market.
According to data from an SMM survey included in the report, stainless steel output in August reached 3.217 million metric tons, showing a month-on-month increase of 1.66% and a year-on-year rise of 41.18%. The output for 200-series stainless steel reached 956,000 metric tons, indicating a 1.7% increase compared to the previous month. The 300-series also saw a 3.28% month-on-month increase to 1.678 million metric tons, while the 400-series witnessed a 0.74% rise to 583,000 metric tons.
At the beginning of the month, the report predicted that September would see high production schedules and significant capacity expansion. This positive outlook was driven by steel mills and traders' optimism regarding downstream demand. Production of the 300 series was expected to increase in East China, and the social inventory, which experienced moderate demand in August, was likely to decrease due to tight production schedules.
Overall, the data from the September 2023 report indicated a thriving stainless steel market in China. With supportive government policies and favorable market conditions, both production and prices are expected to maintain a strong upward trend.