NEW YORK Stainless steel scrap broker/processor buying
prices have fallen to their lowest levels since June 2009, with
market participants lamenting a lack of domestic or export
demand amid plunging nickel prices.
Type 304 solids dropped to a range of $1,275 to $1,335 per
gross ton, down from $1,345 to $1,410 previously; 304 turnings
fell to $1,120 to $1,175 per ton from $1,185 to $1,250; and 316
solids slipped to $1,960 to $2,015 per ton from $2,000 to
It is the lowest processor buying price for 304 solids since
early June 2009, when it traded in a range of $1,150 to $1,175
per gross ton.
The decline in stainless prices follows decrease in the London
Metal Exchange price of nickel, one of the primary raw
materials in the production of stainless steel.
Cash nickel prices closed the official session on the LME June
18 at $14,025 per tonne ($6.36 per pound), down 3.2 percent
from $14,495 per tonne ($6.57 per pound) a week earlier.
Nickel prices also are at their lowest levels since mid-2009,
with analysts attributing the drop to a global surplus in
supply and concerns over demand (
amm.com, June 11
Stainless scrap market participants painted a gloomy picture of
scrap demand, saying that both domestic mills and exporters are
showing little interest in purchasing.
Everyone is very nervous about orders for next month. The
alternatives to go elsewhere are now few and far between
because the Indians just stopped buying, one processor
Its quite difficult; things are tough, a
second processor source said. Theres a lack of
excitement, lack of orders and lack of profitability among
producers. Weve been in a summer slowdown for a couple of
months and were not getting any better. And there is
almost no export demand to offset this; I keep reading about
the Chinese lowering their breakeven costs on NPI (nickel pig
A third processor source speculated that stainless scrap prices
could remain at current levels for several months. People
are saying the new norm will be in the 50s (per pound) and then
the 40s (per pound) for 304, he said.
Meanwhile, scrap dealer buying prices also dropped, with 304
solids falling to a range of 45 to 47 cents per pound from 48
to 50 cents previously.
Im hearing that theres not much demand for
stainless right now, one dealer said.