NSSC to Raise Cold Sheet Export Price by US$200/t for April

Nippon Steel & Sumikin Stainless Steel (NSSC) announced on Monday the firm would increase the export price of stainless cold rolled sheet to US$ 2,400-2,500 per tonne for April-May shipment. The price increases by around US$ 200 by the first hike in a year. The firm also increases the domestic contract price by around 20,000 yen per tonne to reflect higher nickel price based on London Metal Exchange. The firm increased the base price for distributors in November and raised the production level in January under better inventory balance. The firm tries to improve the profitability by the hike and by passing the higher cost price. The firm decided to increase the export price when POSCO of South Korea increased the selling price of stainless flat steel by 200,000 won per tonne in February under the higher nickel price. NSSC expects the supply will get tighter when POSCO plans to stop some operation of hot rolling mill due to planned maintenance. NSSC expects the Japanese import of cold stainless steel will decrease in March-April. The firm tries to increase the selling price for domestic contract users including makers of construction materials, kitchen and appliances. The firm tries to increase the price in April order to reflect US$ 7 per pound of nickel price. The firm said current contract price didn’t reflect higher nickel price from late 2005. The firm tries to improve the profitability by asking the higher price for each user. Japanese coil centers’ inventory of nickel series stainless cold sheet decreased by 3,335 tonnes to 61,642 tonnes in December from November, according to the coil centers’ association. The inventory represented 1.85 months of the shipment. NSSC recognized the market and price improved under better inventory balance in eastern Asia and Europe while the LME nickel price increased. NSSC increased the selling price for distributors in November order, which was the first base price hike since the firm separated the price into alloy-linked price and base price. The firm also increased the output in January by reducing output reduction rate from maximum 35% to 25%.