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European stainless alloy surcharges halt 7-month fall in March

Outokumpu European stainless steel surcharges edge higher for March

London — Monthly alloy surcharges on austenitic grades of stainless steel flat-rolled products for March in Europe are set to rise modestly, reversing the previous month's decline, first mill announcements indicated Monday.

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Finland's Outokumpu, the continent's largest producer, set its alloy adjustment factor for type 304 (4301) flat products at Eur1,324/mt ($1,499/mt) for March, up Eur32 from February.

Dollar-denominated nickel prices on the London Metal Exchange have stabilized somewhat in recent weeks after coming under heavy selling pressure along with the rest of the base metals complex in late 2014.

The LME nickel cash settlement price averages $14,651/mt for February to date, down from $14,770/mt for the month of December.

The surcharge for molybdenum-bearing type 316 (4401) flat products was set at Eur1,923/mt, up from Eur1,891/mt in February.

Spot molybdenum prices have continued to weaken in 2015, slumping to 11-year lows at around $7.50-7.60/lb by mid-February; although prices have edged up in recent days the market is still languishing below $8/lb.

Outokumpu's surcharge for nickel-free type 430 flat products will inch up Eur3 to Eur458/mt for March.

Other European producers have yet to announce next month's surcharges.

--Andy Blamey,
--Edited by Alisdair Bowles,