Stainless Steel & Alloy Pipe, Fittings & Flanges
In general, stainless steel and alloy pipe, fitting and flange prices continue to be driven by geopolitical factors and surcharges. Labor strikes, steelmaking capacity shortages and government sanctions have led to surges in the price of stainless steel products, including pipe, bar, plate and fittings. The Ukrainian–Russian conflict continues to impact European stainless steel manufacturers, including a major producer located in Ukraine. All manufacturing costs, from the base products to the finished product, have experienced increases. Despite these challenges, prices for seamless stainless pipe have leveled off over the last three months as consumers return to more traditional consumption levels. Most mills have returned to standard 24 to 26 week deliveries.
Nickel is a major component in the production cost for stainless steel products. After reaching the $100,000-per-tonne mark in March of 2022, nickel futures are normalizing, trading around $30,000-per-tonne in early January 2023. Although this represents a 26.5% increase year-over-year,1 we anticipate nickel prices will remain stable over the next 6 months due to more consistent demand and availability of raw material.
In November 2022, the U.S. Government announced an initiative to spend
$2 trillion for needed infrastructure improvements. According to research, stainless steel products account for approximately 10% of U.S.-based building and construction consumption.1 Therefore, a large amount of stainless steel products is predicted to be used towards the infrastructure of bridges, roads, railways and environmental projects, as well as carbon capture projects. We anticipate stainless steel pipe, valves and fittings will also play a role, especially for those projects focused on clean energy initiatives. Many of our largest customers are among the leading investors in green energy and decarbonization technology, and we continue to enhance our product and service offerings to support these critical requirements.
1 Argus Metals
2 Grand View Research