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European stainless steel surcharges resume upward trend in April

London — Monthly alloy surcharges on austenitic grades of stainless steel flat-rolled products in Europe are set to rise again in April, first mill announcements indicated Tuesday.

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Surcharge levels slipped for March, halting a four-month trend which had seen them hit multi-year highs.

Finland's Outokumpu, the Continent's largest producer, set its alloy adjustment factor for type 304 (4301) flat products at Eur1,455/mt ($1,571/mt) for April, up Eur51 from the current month and marking the highest level since March 2012, according to S&P Global Platts records.

Dollar-denominated nickel prices on the London Metal Exchange flirted with $11,000/mt in late February/early March but have slipped back as the current month has progressed.

The LME nickel cash settlement price has averaged $10,423/mt for March to date, down 1.9% from $10,620/mt for February.

Outokumpu's surcharge for molybdenum-bearing type 316 (4401) flat products was set at Eur2,021/mt for April, up Eur95 from March to its highest level since October 2014.

From a low of $6.40-$6.55/lb, basis Platts assessments, in mid-December, spot molybdenum oxide prices have moved up steadily in recent weeks and are currently at their highest levels since January 2015, nearing $9/lb.

Meanwhile, Outokumpu's surcharge for nickel-free type 430 flat products is up Eur18 to Eur808/mt for April, marginally below the February figure of Eur810/mt, which was the highest level since Platts records began in January 2007.

The European benchmark ferrochrome price negotiated between producers and steel mills was settled at 156 cents/lb for second-quarter 2017, down 11 cents, or 6.7%, from the previous quarter but up 90% from 82 cents lb in Q2 2016.

--Andy Blamey,
--Edited by Jason Lindquist,