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Stainless scrap processor buying prices flat

Keywords: Tags  stainless scrap, scrap demand, stainless scrap prices, London Metal Exchange, nickel prices, Daniel Fitzgerald

NEW YORK — Stainless scrap processor buying prices are unchanged as market participants await April orders, while some dealer prices have fallen on slack demand.

Processor buying prices for 316 clips and solids remain in a range of $2,175 to $2,240 per gross ton, with 304 clips and solids at $1,475 to $1,545 per ton.

"Everyone is waiting to see what happens with April orders. The scrap merchants are waiting on guidance to see where the price is going to go," one processor said.

"I think it will be a nervous week or two as people wait to see where prices go. We’re at the cusp of April business, though I personally expect it to be no better than March," a second processor said.

"Lead times are not so good right now; you cannot forecast more than 10 days or two weeks out. That lack of forward transparency makes all decision-making rather tenuous," he added. "Scrap guys are used to doing that, but the producers aren’t set up to do that. They’ve got to buy forward—they can’t just turn it on and off."

The Passover holiday this week might also have a bearing on activity, a third processor said.

"I also see less scrap coming in, so I think the dealers probably have other metals they’ll take care of right now. I suspect stainless will sit on the sidelines for a little bit," he said.

Meanwhile, dealers’ buying prices for 316 solids and clips fell to 78 to 80 cents per pound from 79 to 81 cents, and 304 solids and clips fell to 52 to 54 cents from 53 to 55 cents.

"I just lowered the price to what I can sell it for and still maintain a margin," one dealer said.

The cash nickel contract ended the London Metal Exchange’s official session at $16,950 per tonne ($7.69 per pound) March 26, up 2 percent from $16,610 per tonne ($7.53 per pound) March 19.

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