NEW YORK Stainless scrap
processor buying prices have taken another tumble, with
uncertainty over mill demand for April driving prices and
purchasing activity down.
Prices for 304 clips and solids
are in a range of $1,475 to $1,545 per gross ton, down from
$1,525 to $1,570 a week ago, while 316 clips and solids are
between $2,175 and $2,240 per ton, down from $2,200 to $2,260.
Prices for 304 turnings also dropped, and are now in a range of
$1,325 to $1,375 per ton compared with $1,350 to $1,400
"The market is getting uglier.
Order books keep getting weaker and there is plenty of supply
for the needed demand," one processor source told
"There are quite a few dealers
holding material, but demand is so weak that it doesnt
matter," a second processor source said. "I think all the
processors are still very long on material; they probably have
enough material for April as it is."
A third processor source
indicated there was uncertainty in the market as to where
demand was heading in the near term. "Production levels at the
mills are spotty, with almost zero forward lead times. They can
barely tell you what theyll be melting next week, let
alone next month. So nobody has been willing to go forward to
put in an order for three months because they dont have
the confidence," he said. "Everybody is pushing prices down,
but nobody knows what the price should be."
Meanwhile, dealer prices are
unchanged, with 304 solids and clips in a range of 53 to 55
cents per pound. "Surprisingly, these prices are still good
today. However, were keeping a very close eye on it," one
dealer source said.
"Theres still not a lot of
material coming in the door, which is a bigger problem than
pricing," a second dealer source said.
The London Metal Exchanges
cash nickel contract ended the official session March 19 at
$16,610 per tonne ($7.53 per pound), down 2.1 percent from
$16,970 per tonne ($7.70 per pound) a week earlier.