Stainless scrap industry leaders appear divided as to whether
the United States will become a net importer or remain a net
exporter over the coming years.
The discussion kicked
off at AMMs 27th Annual Stainless and its Alloys
Conference in Chicago this week after Boonton, N.J.-based
Hunter Alloys LLC president Barry Hunter cast doubt over the
accuracy of the federal governments stainless scrap
The ramp-up of Espoo,
Finland-based Outokumpu Oyjs mill in Calvert, Ala., is
going to alter the import/export dynamic as domestic producers
chase more nickel-bearing scrap, McKeesport, Pa.-based ELG
Metals Inc. nickel product manager Alasdair Gledhill said.
"Thats going to
radically change the scrap flow in North America. We can argue
about the specific levels of export, but thatll change.
And it will change quite rapidly to (a situation) where scrap
from the West Coast and East Coast will find its way into the
Midwest to be melted by the large stainless consumers," he
Pa.-based Cronimet Corp. president and chief executive officer
Frank Santoro expressed doubt that domestic stainless mills
would consistently run at a rate to necessitate a reversal in
the import/export balance.
"Were of the
opinion that if everything ran at 2006 production levels
forever, wed be a net importer. But in a 10-year cycle,
how many years are stainless mills running at 100 percent? So,
on a consistent basis, will there be a net importing of scrap?
Im not so sure about that," he said.
Gledhill noted that
scrap processors had been challenged recently by declining
nickel prices on the London Metal Exchange, which has led to
"sporadic disruptions in the scrap supply chain."
"When the price falls
rapidly and consistently, dealers tend to pile their scrap up
and wait for a better market. Its up to our industry to
smooth that supply chain," he said.
prices for Type 304 solids had fallen to a range of $1,175 to
$1,230 per gross ton July 8 from $1,745 to $1,810 per ton Jan.
22. The current range is $1,320 to $1,365 per gross ton,
according to AMMs most recent assessment.