NEW YORK Stainless scrap
processor prices have taken another tumble, with processors
awaiting indications on steel sector demand for March before
taking on more inventory.
Processors are buying 304 solids
in a range of $1,525 to $1,600 per gross ton vs. $1,650 to
$1,700 previously, while 316 solids are transacting at $2,200
to $2,275 per ton compared with $2,275 to $2,350 previously.
Meanwhile, 304 turnings are transacting in a range of $1,375 to
$1,410 per gross ton, down from $1,475 to $1,525 previously.
All 400-series grades remain unchanged.
Dealer scrap prices also
dropped, with 304 solids falling to a range of 54 to 56 cents
per pound from 57 to 59 cents, and 316 solids dropping to 80 to
82 cents per pound from 83 to 85 cents. At the same time, 304
turnings fell to 40 to 42 cents per pound from 43 to 45
The cash nickel contract on the
London Metal Exchange ended the official session at $16,525 per
tonne ($7.50 per pound) Feb. 26, down 3.9 percent from $17,200
per tonne ($7.80 per pound) Feb. 20.
While the continuing decline in
official nickel prices was one of the major factors cited in
the scrap price drop, market participants also cited a dip in
near-term demand as processors play a waiting game.
"Everyone is waiting for more
information from the mills to see what theyll be buying
for March," one processor told AMM. "Its such a
strange market because everyone is so nervous. Theyre
also waiting to see if nickel stays where it is."
Uncertainty over future steel
sector demand is causing many to hold off on acquiring more
scrap inventory despite the lower prices, processors said.
"The fall in prices is rewarding
procrastination. ... Currently, theres not enough
incentive for buyers to jump," a second processor said.
"We dont know what will
happen with the mills next month. You dont want to be
long; thats for sure." a third processor said. "The
400-series isnt going up or down because the iron market
will probably go up next month. Theyre talking about
going back to where it was in January."