Roskill reports that figures released by the ISSF showed that world production of stainless steel increased by 7% year-on-year during the first nine months of 2016, to a total of 33.6 Mt. “In China, the increase was even more notable, at 11.4%, compared to 4.2% in the rest of Asia. Smaller increases were recorded in the Americas and Western Europe. The strong growth figures highlight the distinct nature of the stainless steel market, as compared with carbon steel, as stainless demand has continued to grow even as sectors such as construction industries have faltered.
“Buoyed by consumer applications, Roskill maintains a bullish outlook on stainless steel, although the 2016 growth rates are unlikely to be sustained, having been inflated by the recovery from a particularly poor preceding year in 2015. Nonetheless, some risks remain, including the impact of environmental regulations put in place in China to combat acute air pollution, which has had an adverse effect on stainless steel processing activity in the closing weeks of the year.”
Roskill also notes: “Low prices during 2016 have caused tungsten concentrate supply to drop back more into line with demand, and the market may fall into a slight supply deficit in 2017. This would help to drawn down stockpiles and could see prices for the main tungsten intermediate APT post a small increase next year, with Roskill forecasting an annual average of $234/mtu for Chinese FOB material. European APT prices were stable at $192.50/mtu in mid-December.
The picture shows Wolf Minerals’ Drakelands tungsten mine in the UK.