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Stainless steel scrap prices slide

Keywords: Tags  stainless scrap, scrap prices, nickel prices, London Metal Exchange, Rey Mashayekhi

NEW YORK — Stainless steel scrap broker/processor buying prices have weakened as flat nickel tags continue to weigh on the market.

Processor buying prices for Type 316 solids fell to a range of $1,800 to $1,860 per gross ton from $1,860 to $1,905 previously.

While 304 solids were stable at $1,320 to $1,365 per ton and 304 turnings at $1,185 to $1,230 per ton, some brokers and dealers also reported downward trends for those grades.

The London Metal Exchange cash nickel contract closed the official session Oct. 1 at $13,740 per tonne ($6.23 per pound), down 0.7 percent from $13,830 per tonne ($6.27 per pound) Sept. 23. The contract slipped further Oct. 2, closing the official session at $13,630 per tonne ($6.18 per pound).

Many buyers said low nickel prices have caught up to the market, contributing to a slowdown in business. Some also said imports and sluggish sales were placing pressure on domestic stainless mills.

"Stainless prices are drifting downward as a result of sliding nickel prices," one processor source said. "But more importantly, U.S. stainless mills are having to keep a lid on their domestic buying numbers as they continue to compete with possible Chinese imports."

Dealer buying prices remained mostly flat, with 430 new clips rising to 9 to 11 cents per pound from 7 to 9 cents previously.

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