Ⅰ Overview of Stainless Steel
Stainless steel is popular among people for its beautiful appearance, corrosion resistance, and resistance to damage. The main components of stainless steel are iron, chromium, and nickel. In addition, it also contains trace elements such as manganese, titanium, cobalt, molybdenum and cadmium. Among them, chromium can prevent rust, while nickel can prevent corrosion. The combination of many metal elements makes stainless steel stable and resistant, rust and corrosion resistance.
Ⅱ Status Quo of the Stainless Steel Ball Industry
In recent years, China’s urbanization rate has increased year by year. The continuous advancement of the urbanization process changes in the population structure and in residents’ lifestyles, and promotes the growth of stainless steel decorative balls. In addition, with the transformation of the business model of stainless steel ball manufacturers, the sales of independent brands continue to rise, which further promotes the growth of the stainless steel decorative ball market.
Ⅲ Stainless Steel Price Trends at the End of 2020 and Early 2021
The price of nickel-based stainless steel showed a trend of “decreasing first and rising later”. After the low point in the year at the beginning of the second quarter, it began to rise, and in the fourth quarter it fell moderately at a high level.
The price of chromium stainless steel rebounded from a low level, especially in the third and fourth quarters, showing a strong upward trend, showing a “✔” trend, and the upward trend remained unchanged at the end of the year.
The price of the 200 series has gradually returned to a narrow range after the “V”-shaped trend in the first five months. At the end of the year, due to the promotion of the price of electrolytic manganese raw materials, it went upward, which is between the “V”-shaped trend and the “✔ “trends.
The price trends of the three major systems are different, with both cost-driven factors and demand-driven factors. In terms of production, except for the obvious decline in the first quarter due to the impact of COVID-19, the monthly production in the second and third quarters continued to rise, and the monthly production in the fourth quarter was stable at a high of about 2.9 million tons. Even though the cost kept rising, the annual output of stainless steel crude steel was about 30.6 million tons, and the output hit a record high.
The price fluctuation of 304 stainless steel is greatly affected by the price of nickel, especially the fluctuation of nickel price caused by changes in the supply and demand of nickel is the core factor affecting the cost of 304 stainless steel. Affected by the increase in nickel prices in the third quarter, the price of 304 stainless steel also increased significantly. The price of 201 stainless steel also rose strongly at the end of the year. This is why the price for stainless steel balls will sometimes change instead of fix all the time.
We expect China’s stainless steel crude steel output will continue to grow in 2021. First, the continued strong recovery of China’s GDP will drive global economic growth, which will drive the growth of stainless steel demand. Second, China’s new stainless steel crude steel production capacity will gradually reach the demand, and the output of stainless crude steel will increase. The third is the popularization of automated production promoting the development of the industry. With the advent of the Industry 4.0 era, automated production has become a trend, which not only speeds up the production efficiency of enterprises, but also saves costs.
Ⅳ Future Development Trend of the Stainless Steel Spheres Industry
With the improvement of consumers’ living standards, consumers put forward higher requirements on the appearance and performance of decorative balls. In terms of performance, without reducing the mechanical properties and corrosion resistance of stainless steel, its antibacterial performance is improved. In terms of appearance, the colors of stainless steel balls are more diverse to attract consumers’ attention and promote product sales.