The June ISM Manufacturing Index (PMI) decreased 3 percentage points, posting a 53 mark compared to May’s 56.1. This is the lowest reading since June 2020. Survey respondents noted that supply chain and pricing issues persist as their largest concerns. While demand slightly lessened, supplier delivery performance fared a little worse, helping to explain the backlog growth that was reported.

Consumer Confidence continued to wane in June, registering a 98.7 mark from May’s revised 103.2 reading. Inflation continues to be the most pressing issue confronting the public. While consumers have a positive outlook for their present situation, their expectations of their future situation are weaker, suggesting tepid growth for the second half of 2022. 

June finally saw WTI Oil take a break from escalating, falling from $115.26/barrel to $105.76/barrel. This was the first month since November that oil retreated in price. Don’t get too excited, however. Libya’s National Oil Corp. declared force majeure at the end of June, while oil workers are expected to strike in Norway in early July – limiting any extra downward momentum in price.  

The online US Oil Rig Count is at 750 which is up 23 compared to last month’s report and up 275 from July 2 of 2021 (high of 1609 in October of 2014 before oil pricing dropped below $20 per barrel at the end of that year). This key and leading indicator shows the current demand for products used in drilling, completing, producing, and processing of hydrocarbons which all of us use every day as fuel sources and finished products.

Nickel continued to deteriorate in value during June. It began the month at $12.75/lb. and steadily fell throughout, ultimately closing at $10.32/lb. China COVID lockdowns suppressing manufacturing output and global pessimism tied to a potential economic downturn helped to contribute to the commodity’s decline.

Below is the 90 day Nickel Price Trend (US$ per tonne).

Domestic steel mills took a respite from price increases in June. With rumblings of distributors being a little heavy on inventory, plate prices look to possibly soften in the near term.    

Commodity stainless and Duplex plate deliveries remain in the 8 to 11 week range, while Nickel alloy plates range from 11 to 26 weeks. Carbon Steel plate mill deliveries reside in the 6 to 12 week delivery range.

Welded tubing –Stainless strip supply continues to improve, allowing for some deliveries in the 10 to 16 week range, with larger quantity orders remaining in the window of 18 to 29 weeks. Carbon steel tubing deliveries have lead times ranging anywhere from 8 to 12 to 20 weeks when strip is available. Welded nickel alloy tubing ranges from 16 to 26 weeks, with some cases of 30 week deliveries. 

Seamless tubing – Current schedules reflect 8 to 22 weeks or more for carbon steel (26 to 30 weeks for Western European carbon seamless) and 8 to 30 weeks for stainless. Seamless nickel tubing is being offered at the 10 to 12 week delivery window so long as hollows are in stock. If hollows are not readily available, anticipate deliveries of seamless nickel tubing in the 20 to 32 week timeframe. 

The metal market is still in a tremendous state of uncertainty and price volatility, so please don’t hesitate to reach out if you have any questions.  

Here’s the current surcharge chart for 304/304LSS, 316/316LSS, 2205, C276, and 625.

Nickel Prices have had an interesting ride over the past two decades with a low of $2.20/lb. in October of 2001 (following September 11 events) and a high of $23.72/lb. in May of 2007. Surcharges trail Nickel prices by approximately two months, so they would have been at their lowest in December of 2001 (304 was $0.0182/lb.) with the peak in July of 2007 (304 was $2.2839/lb.). 

The chart below illustrates Nickel price by way of U.S. Dollar per Metric ton.