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Stainless scrap prices flat; outlook weakens

Keywords: Tags  stainless steel, scrap, broker, processor, buying prices, nickel, London Metal Exchange, LME Rey Mashayekhi

NEW YORK — Stainless steel scrap broker/processor prices remained flat this week, but dealers and traders said they expect the market to soften in the coming weeks amid uncertainty surrounding the global nickel market and disappointing melting rates at stainless mills.

Processor buying prices across all AMM-listed 300-series and 400-series grades were steady going into November, but market participants warned of a stainless scrap market that looks set to slip amid falling nickel prices.

The London Metal Exchange’s cash nickel contract closed the official session Nov. 5 at $14,325 per tonne ($6.50 per pound), down 1.3 percent from $14,520 per tonne ($6.59 per pound) Oct. 29 and down 2.1 percent from a two-month high of $14,635 per tonne ($6.64 per pound) Oct. 22.

"Prices haven’t changed, and we are hearing the market will probably soften over the winter," one dealer source said.

"If nickel continues to trend down, brokers will lower their prices by the mid-to-end of the week," a second dealer source said.

"Things are pretty flat," one processor source said. "I think we’ll probably know more about pricing by (Nov. 7), depending on what nickel does between now and then. It does feel like there’s been a bit of steam taken out of the market."

Processor buying prices for Type 304 solids held between $1,410 to $1,455 per gross ton Nov. 4, while 304 turnings climbed to $1,230 to $1,275 per ton.

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