Current situation:

  • Nickel prices have rebounded over the past 30 days to @$8.45 per lb. ($7.85 in the last update).  Warehouse levels were sharply lower again this month at 226,962 tons (239,838 tons in the last update).
  • Producer prices for stainless pipe were up month-over-month through June, rising by 1.5% M/M (up 1.2% last month); they were also up 18.8% Y/Y (up 17.8% last month).


Key factors that could affect supply or price:

  • North American Stainless (NAS) sent a letter to its customers on Thursday July 8 declaring force majeure due to a lack of industrial gases that are critical for operations.
  • The declaration was caused by the failed delivery of industrial gases (such as oxygen and natural gas) from a supplier, which itself has declared force majeure, according to the company.
  • The company subsequently announced “the suspension of all performance obligations and indefinite delay of any and all further deliveries” from its facility in Ghent, Kentucky.
  • Other factors contributed to the declaration, including outages at air separation units owned by other suppliers and a lack of trucking capacity available to supply industrial gasses in necessary volumes.
  • This will have significant impact to fitting production schedules for any items produced using domestic plate or pipe. Current products would include AIS pipe fitting products in all sizes, long tangent, and belled end, as well as Sch 5S products. Bristol and Felker are giving pushback for many orders of pipe. This will cause price increases due to limited supply, but more importantly delays for delivery.