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Stainless scrap processors’ buying prices slide

Keywords: Tags  stainless steel scrap, scrap demand, stainless scrap, scrap prices, London Metal Exchange, LME, nickel prices, scrap processors scrap dealers

NEW YORK — Stainless steel scrap processor buying prices have dropped along with official nickel pricing, with processors now looking toward the second half of the year for a pickup in orders.

Prices for 316 solids fell to $2,050 to $2,105 per gross ton from $2,050 to $2,125 previously; 304 turnings dropped to $1,225 to $1,275 per ton from $1,250 to $1,300 previously; 430 solids moved to $425 to $450 per ton from $450 to $485; and 409 solids to $350 to $400 per ton from $375 to $400 previously.

Dealer prices were unchanged.

The London Metal Exchange’s cash nickel contract ended the official session at $15,035 per tonne ($6.82 per pound) May 21, down 0.5 percent from $15,105 per tonne ($6.85 per pound) May 14.

Market participants told AMM that they don’t expect orders to improve for June, or even the rest of the summer.

“The summer doldrums have become the yearly doldrums. ... The order book is very thin. The overall economy feels generally positive, but I don’t expect major changes in melt rates,” one processor said.

A second processor agreed. “I don’t think you can go beyond month to month right now. We’re hearing that the order books aren’t filling in. There’s no life in the market,” he said.

“The mills will keep pushing prices down as it’s not competitive, and the dealers will have their say on whether they want to sell it or not. If you don’t want to commit it, your option is to hold it,” he added.

A third processor now said he is looking forward to Labor Day in September for a pickup in business activity.

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