NEW YORK Consumer buying prices for 300-series stainless scrap have plunged to their lowest level since June 2009, prompted by falling nickel markets and lackluster demand, although 400-series scrap prices have risen.
Buying prices for 316 solids dropped to $1,950 to $2,050 per gross ton from $2,200 to $2,250 previously. Prices for 304 solids dropped to $1,425 to $1,475 per ton from $1,550 to $1,600 previously, the lowest level since June 2009 when prices were at $1,300 to $1,325 per ton. The price range for 304 turnings also fell to $1,275 to $1,325 per ton from $1,400 to $1,450 previously.
The London Metal Exchanges cash nickel contract ended the official session at $13,655 per tonne ($6.19 per pound) July 11, down 5.8 percent from $14,495 per tonne ($6.57 per pound) June 11.
Prices for 300-series scrap are diverging considerably with consumer demand flagging and nickel prices plummeting over the summer, market participants told AMM.
"Theres almost no across-the-board price. ... Consumers are trying to buy as cheap as they can, and its a competitive market in selling," one processor said.
"Because things are very fluid and highly negotiable, there are large spreads in the marketplace. In some ways, a $50 spread is not enough to show how widely divergent prices are. Theres a large spread against a backdrop of relatively poor demand and uncertainty, a second processor said.
Meanwhile, 430 solids moved up to $590 to $610 per ton from $560 to $580 previously, while 409 solids rose to $510 to $535 per ton from $475 to $500 previously.
"The falling chrome and nickel market is hitting the commodity-grade stuff, but with the 400-series (product) were doing well and cant get enough of it," one consumer said.
Market participants told AMM earlier this week that 400-series scrap, which contains no nickel, has been buoyed by recent gains in prices for iron units (amm.com, July 9).