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Stainless steel scrap consumer prices rise

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

NEW YORK — Stainless steel scrap prices have risen in November following a relatively strong month for nickel, with traders noting a slightly improved appetite for material.

AMM’s processor buying price assessment for stainless steel scrap showed Type 316 material rose to a range of $1,905 to $1,950 per ton from $1,860 to $1,920 previously, 304 bundles, solids and clips moved up to $1,410 to $1,455 per ton from $1,380 to $1,425 and the range for Type 409 material widened to $510 to $545 per ton from $510 to $535.

Both mill and processor sources confirmed the rise in prices, which correspond with stronger nickel on the London Metal Exchange. The LME’s three-month nickel contract averaged $14,135.54 per tonne ($6.41 per pound) last month, up 2 percent from $13,852.50 per tonne ($6.28 per pound) in September.

"The mills have demonstrated a slightly more aggressive attitude toward buying in November," one processor source said, citing "a slight increase in appetite" from two major consumers. "We expect slightly better margins this month," he added.

Still, most brokers remained wary of what the market holds in November and December, traditionally slow months for the industry, with several noting a dip in nickel prices below $14,000 per tonne in early November.

"There’s no pressure for the mills to raise prices dramatically because the overall melting levels are not that great," a second processor source said.

"Things have trailed off a little bit," a third processor said when asked how nickel prices had affected the market. "(Last) week, when Europe brought interest rates down, copper went down 3 to 4 cents and nickel came down. And I think it’s going to stay there for a while."

Inventory levels at mills are at "a comfortable level," he added.

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