The largest stainless steel company in Japan, Nippon Steel Sumukin Stainless Steel of NSSC announced this January 2013 that they are increasing their prices for the austenitic old-rolled stainless steel products but maintaining the old prices for the ferritic cold-rolled stainless steel line.
The new price for the austenitic line increased to 25,000 yen per ton and the reason cited by the company was the increase in global prices for nickel from 51 cents per pound in December to $7.9 per pound in late last year.
One of the reasons for the increase in nickel prices is the recovery in China¡¯s economy. In fact, the UK-based company MEPS predicts that by the second quarter of 2013, the price of nickel could increase to as much US$21,000/ton.
The spokesman for the Nippon Steel Sumikin Stainless Steel said that since the demand for austenitic stainless steel is very high, they do not see a problem with the price increase especially since it is not income-based but a reaction to the market prices for raw materials.
As for nickel alloyed stainless steel scraps, the same situation has occurred with a 5,000 yen increase per ton. Most of Japan¡¯s stainless steel scrap is sent overseas since the domestic demand is still low.