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European stainless steel alloy surcharges down again in September

London — Monthly alloy surcharges on austenitic grades of stainless steel flat-rolled products in Europe are set to fall for a second successive month in September, first mill announcements indicated.

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Finland's Outokumpu, the continent's largest producer, set its alloy adjustment factor for type 304 (4301) flat products at Eur1,523/mt ($1,766/mt) for September, down Eur61/mt from August to the lowest since May this year.

The surcharge hit a seven-year high, basis Platts' records, at Eur1,647/mt in July before retreating, primarily on lower nickel prices.

Having begun July at above $14,000/mt, dollar-denominated nickel prices on the London Metal Exchange hit six-month lows below $13,000/mt in mid-August as the base metals complex as a whole was sold off against a background of a surging US dollar and ongoing concerns about the US-China trade dispute.

Through Tuesday, the LME nickel cash settlement price averaged $13,494/mt so far for August, compared with $13,772/mt in July.

Outokumpu's surcharge for molybdenum-bearing type 316 (4401) flat products was set at Eur2,286/mt for September, down Eur26/mt from the previous month and off Eur130 from July's seven-year high of Eur2,416/mt.

Spot molybdenum oxide prices rose steadily through July to hit four-month highs at the turn of the month but have since fallen back as buying interest has dried up during the seasonally quiet summer vacation period.

The Platts daily molybdenum oxide price assessment was $11.80-$12.00/lb Monday, down from $12.50-$12.70/lb at the beginning of August.

Outokumpu's September surcharge for nickel-free type 430 flat products fell Eur13 from August's level to Eur721/mt.

Outokumpu's graphite electrode surcharge on stainless steel products orders in Europe, the Middle East, Africa, Australia and Asia, introduced last September, remained unchanged at Eur30/mt through August. The company has yet to post a September figure.

--Andy Blamey,

--Edited by Jeremy Lovell,