During the crisis years a great deal of restructuring and consolidation took place, especially among European pipe producers. Due to the much reduced capacity and the increasing demand, scarcity and delivery times increased in 2017. This impacted pricing. In addition, anti-dumping measures were implemented in various areas of the world.
Prices increased in virtually all product groups. Due to the globally growing economy and the related growth in demand for steel products, welded pipe prices increased at the beginning of 2017. After some decline halfway through the year, prices once again increased as of the fourth quarter. With respect to seamless pipes, there was a continuous upward trend throughout 2017. Price increases are steady and the delivery times, particularly of European mills, continue to increase.
Many Chinese seamless pipe producers also reduced their capacity. Furthermore, many Chinese mills increased their minimum order quantities as a means of achieving economies of scale. This is a positive development for stock-keeping distributors that are large enough to purchase and distribute larger volumes.
In 2017, stainless steel price trends were affected by the threat of import levies on seamless pipes from India. European price levels increased significantly as a result of this. The price of nickel stayed at an average level of approximately USD 10,000 per ton.