NEW YORK Stainless scrap consumer buying prices have dropped amid low demand and reports of oversupply, although broker/processor prices rebounded slightly as terminal nickel markets jumped.
Consumers purchased 316 solids and clips at $2,300 to $2,350 per gross ton, down from $2,375 to $2,425 per ton previously; 304 solids fell to $1,625 to $1,675 per ton from $1,740 to $1,790 per ton; 304 turnings dropped to $1,450 to $1,500 from $1,590 to $1,615 per ton; 430 bundles fell to $560 to $580 per ton from $580 to $600 previously; and 409 bundles slipped to $475 to $500 from $510 to $520 per ton previously.
Low demand coupled with a recent decline in London Metal Exchange nickel prices has prompted a buyers market, participants told AMM May 13.
"Demand is definitely off. Everyones got stainless scrap and (is) just trying to get rid of it. ... Discounts are high, and with these nickel prices, its hard to sell it," one consumer said.
"It seems to be pretty slow. There are orders, but the consumers are buying at their numbers," one processor said.
Three-month nickel closed the LMEs official session at $15,185 per tonne ($6.89 per pound) May 14, down 1 percent from $15,340 ($6.96 per pound) a day earlier and 6.3 percent below $16,205 per tonne ($7.35 per pound) April 10, when AMM last assessed stainless consumer prices. However, it was up slightly from the May 7 close of $15,045 per tonne ($6.82 per pound).
The week-on-week rebound prompted some broker/processor buying prices to rise marginally, with 316 solids moving to $2,050 to $2,125 per ton from $2,040 to $2,105 previously, while 304 solids increased to $1,400 to $1,450 per gross ton from $1,365 to $1,435 previously.
However, market participants told AMM that demand continued to be a concern going forward.
"Demand is still weak and the outlook for the next few months is uncertain. The orders arent there and were looking at a very difficult summer," a second processor said.
"Stainless steel producers are all having trouble posting black numbers, so they continue to target cost-cutting wherever possible, and raw materials (are) always an easy target. But you can only do that to the extent that scrap continues to flow," a third processor said. "Its very difficult for anyone anywhere along the scrap supply chain to make any money."
Meanwhile, stainless scrap dealer prices remained unchanged.