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Stainless scrap prices pick up steam with LME

Keywords: Tags  stainless scrap, 304 clips and solids, 316 clips and solids, scrap prices, Thorsten Schier

NEW YORK — Stainless scrap prices have risen again due to higher nickel prices on the London Metal Exchange.

Processors are now buying 304 clips and solids at $1,680 to $1,750 per gross ton, up from $1,635 to $1,680 per ton previously; and 316 clips and solids at $2,310 to $2,350 per ton, up from $2,250 to $2,320 per ton.

Dealers showed greater willingness to sell at the higher prices, with some adding that they were moving more material now due to uncertainty about tax rates after the fiscal cliff negotiations.

"You know what 2012 is. You don’t know what next year is going to bring," one dealer said.

A processor agreed. "There’s been some more activity as people look to cash out in 2012 rather than pay higher taxes in 2013," he said.

However, scrap flow is still comparatively weak due to the recently lowered prices, according to one broker. "Some will always come out, but I don’t know how much physically is out there. I don’t think the price has generated enough scrap," he said.

Some processors also said that they were willing to pay more due to an expected uptick in consumer buying in the first quarter.

"Everyone’s gambling on that," according to a second processor.

The cash nickel contract closed the London Metal Exchange’s official session at $17,605 per tonne Tuesday, up 1.6 percent from $17,330 per tonne Monday.

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