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Stainless scrap prices lose more ground

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

NEW YORK — Consumer and broker/processor buying prices for 300-series stainless scrap have fallen again as market participants brace for a particularly slow summer.

Consumer buying prices fell to a range of $2,200 to $2,250 per gross ton for Type 316 solids from $2,300 to $2,350 previously; $1,550 to $1,600 per ton for 304 solids, down from $1,625 to $1,675; and $1,400 to $1,450 per ton for 304 turnings from $1,450 to $1,500.

Waning consumer and end-market demand is likely to keep trading activity and prices in a lull over the summer, market participants told AMM.

"We’ve only melted sparingly over the last four to six weeks, so we haven’t needed to be in the market. For the foreseeable future, it’s just going to be slow," one consumer source said.

"It’s still nothing spectacular by any means," a second consumer source said. "Demand isn’t through the roof, and we’ll probably have the same production levels as last month."

A processor source noted that demand is unlikely to pick up in July and August, with many consumers traditionally conducting planned maintenance and lowering production rates over the summer.

"It’s looking very dicey for next month. Things are not looking good," a second processor source said.

Meanwhile, broker/processor prices for 316 solids have dropped to $2,000 to $2,065 per ton from $2,040 to $2,100 previously, and 304 solids have fallen to $1,345 to $1,410 per ton from $1,365 to $1,425.

"There are limited opportunities, and the reality is setting in for dealers who have been holding onto material that there’s nothing to wait out for," one dealer said.

A second dealer cited the influence of declining nickel prices, with the London Metal Exchange’s cash nickel contract ending the official session June 11 at $14,495 per tonne ($6.57 per pound), down 4.3 percent from $15,140 per tonne ($6.87 per pound) June 4 and the lowest close for the contract since July 2009.

Dealer prices were unchanged, with 304 solids steady in a range of 48 to 50 cents per pound.

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