Leading stainless steel producers in Taiwan yesterday reported substantially improved sales this month, kindling hopes that the market has at least touched bottom, if not yet started to rebound.
Yieh United Steel Corp (燁聯) in Kaohsiung County — the largest integrated stainless steel mill in Southeast Asia with an annual capacity of 1 million tonnes — indicated that thanks to rising international nickel prices, its stainless steel supply this month is expected to reach 70,000 tonnes.
The estimated volume for this month is a significant increase from the historical monthly lows of 40,000 tonnes in January and February and around 60,000 tonnes last month, the mill said.
Tang Eng Iron Works Co (唐榮) in Kaohsiung, a specialized producer of stainless steel with an annual capacity of 260,000 tonnes, also reported that its capacity utilization rate has increased from 20 percent in February to 80 percent this month, with total production this month estimated to triple to 24,000 tonnes from the monthly average of the first quarter.
Both Yieh United and Tang Eng hiked their stainless steel prices in the middle of the month, prompting a wave of price increases by downstream producers, including Yeun Chyang Industrial Co (允強), Froch Enterprise Co (彰源), Chien Shing Stainless Steel Co (千興), Yeou Yih Steel Co (有益), Sinkang Industries Co (新鋼), Ta Chen Stainless Pipe Co (大成) and Rodex Fasteners Corp (華祺).
Most producers said they believed that as long as nickel prices remain above US$10,000 per tonne next month and in June, their monthly revenues in the second quarter would continue to recover.
Stainless steel producers use about two-thirds of global nickel supplies, as the alloy contains up to 9 percent nickel, which accounts for about half of total stainless-steel production costs.
Nickel traded at an average price of US$9,686 per tonne in January on the London Metal Exchange and rose 15 percent to slightly above US$10,000 per tonne in February and the middle of last month before dipping below US$10,000 per tonne again late last month.
The prices soared again this month and broke US$12,000 per tonne a week ago, setting a new high for this year.
As recently as last month, investors in China’s Internet stocks were clutching on to the belief that the companies would sail through the COVID-19 outbreak unscathed. Alibaba Group Holding Ltd (阿里巴巴), for example, was trading near historic highs, despite the e-commerce giant’s chief financial officer admitting days before that its biggest business would decline as a result of the squeeze on consumer spending. By the time Baidu Inc (百度) reported two weeks later, shares of the search engine provider had fallen 11.7 percent, while those of Alibaba were down 6.4 percent and social media powerhouse Tencent Holdings Ltd (騰訊) had slipped
STEPPING UP: The firm has also asked employees to work in split shifts from this week and to halt all but essential overseas business travel from next month Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co (TSMC, 台積電) has implemented a remote work policy for employees not on production lines in an attempt to curb the spread of COVID-19, the world’s largest contract chipmaker said yesterday. This is the first time in the Hsinchu-based company’s history that it has launched a large-scale remote work policy, joining global technology companies, such as Apple Inc and Google, that encourage employees to work from home. The chipmaker has also asked employees to work in split shifts from this week, it said. As the number of virus infections continues to climb worldwide, TSMC has urged employees to halt unnecessary
A two-hour drive south of Amsterdam in Veldhoven, workers decked out head-to-toe in protective gear toil in vast assembly halls. Before entering the inner sanctuary of the facilities, they meticulously layer on masks, gloves and special socks. A single speck of dust or a hair can have devastating effects on production. The result of all this painstaking process is an environment that is 10,000 times more purified than outside. As COVID-19 grips the world, it might just be the safest place to work right now. The teams belong to ASML Holding NV, which holds a de facto monopoly on the industry of
The cancelation of major sporting events and the decimation of the luxury, entertainment and travel industries is delivering a hammer blow to a global advertising industry that was already reeling from years of tech-led turmoil. What should have been a bumper year with UEFA Euro 2020, the Tokyo Olympics and US elections looks like it could be one of the worst for ad giants WPP PLC, Omnicom Group Inc, Publicis Groupe SA and IPG Inc as the economy shuts down. Advertising executives told reporters that clients are pulling campaigns, photoshoots for glossy magazines are off and major brands are cutting budgets to