NEW YORK Stainless scrap market players are eyeing potential price declines moving into February as processor buying prices logged mixed results this week.
Processors are currently paying between $1,745 and $1,810 per gross ton for 304 clips and solids, up from $1,725 to $1,790 previously, while 316 clips and solids dropped to $2,370 to $2,420 per ton from $2,400 to $2,440.
All other prices were unchanged, with many sources noting that relatively flat nickel prices were keeping most grades stable.
Cash nickel closed the London Metal Exchanges official session at $17,485 per tonne ($7.93 per pound) Jan. 23.
Prices could soften as demand looks set to wane in some sectors, market sources said.
"I actually think the market is a little too high and Im predicting it will start to drift down a little. That could all change with tomorrows nickel prices, but apparently the orders just arent there," one processor told AMM.
"The word on the street is that the mills are slowing down," one scrap dealer said. "I anticipate a drop by the start of next week of about 5 cents a pound."
January has also been a relatively quiet month despite previous expectations of a ramping up in output and demand, sources added.
"It was really bulling ahead until about two weeks ago," a second scrap vendor said. "I think a lot of people (went a bit crazy) buying up scrap before the holidays."