Headwinds keep pressure on ailing noble alloys market

Noble alloys prices continue to be buffeted by headwinds in Europe as demand for steel is muted and consumers focus on long-term contracts rather than spot business.

Falling prices, stagnation across markets Since the beginning of 2015, with the exception of ferro-tungsten in recent weeks, noble alloys stainless steel sheet prices have declined more or less continuously and many are now at or close to six-year lows. The falling prices are clearly affecting alloy producers; at least some production has left the market, and some companies are discussing the possibility of reducing their output.

Evraz Highveld Steel and Vanadium cited weakness in the vanadium market as one of the reasons for its recent decision to seek business rescue, as well as “a severe reduction of domestic steel demand”. It has not indicated any impact on production. Parent company Evraz also said that, although demand for vanadium grew 4% globally year-on-year in 2014, global supply was up 5%. Its average ferro-vanadium price in 2014 was $26 per kg, down 8% from 2013, and spot prices dropped to $19-19.30 in Europe on April…

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