Stainless Prices to Stay High

Nickel shortage to drive price increase on stainless

Nickel production may fall behind demand this year for the first time in four years on increased usage by the stainless steel industry, the biggest user of the metal, according to London-based research group CRU.

As one supplier to the craft beer industry said, “Long story short, expect price increases across the board for everything stainless; kegs, tanks, brewhouses, piping, etc.”

Nickel prices have climbed 20 percent this year, more than any of the other main metals on the London Metal Exchange.

Last year, stainless steel production fell 4.5 percent as the worst global recession since World War II curbed demand but output this year may climb as much as 15 percent to 29 million tons from 25.2 million tons last year.

China, the world’s largest stainless steel maker, resumed production to full capacity in January and is expected to boost output by 19 percent this year.