NEW YORK Stainless steel scrap mill buying prices have shown mixed moves for February, market participants told AMM.
Material tightness and stronger London Metal Exchange nickel contracts have pushed nickel-bearing grades higher, market sources said, while lower ferrous scrap prices have forced non-nickel-bearing grades down.
Consumer buying prices for Type 316 solids increased to $2,045 to $2,095 per gross ton from $2,000 to $2,050 in January, 304 solids rose to $1,560 to $1,635 per ton from $1,525 to $1,590 and 304 turnings jumped to $1,385 to $1,435 per ton from $1,340 to $1,390.
Meanwhile, consumer buying prices for ferritic stainless scrap grades dropped, with 430 bundles moving to $600 to $630 per ton from $620 to $650 previously and 409 bundles to $525 to $555 per ton from $545 to $575.
The LMEs three-month nickel contract averaged $14,137.84 per tonne ($6.41 per pound) in January, up 1.2 percent from $13,976.50 per tonne ($6.34 per pound) in December. However, ferrous scrap prices have headed in the opposite direction, with AMMs Midwest Ferrous Scrap Index for No. 1 heavy melt falling to $385.86 per ton in February, down 7.7 percent from $417.95 the previous month (amm.com, Feb. 10).
"The mills have offered a little bit better pricing (for 300-grade material). They lowered their discount on stainless," one processor source said. "But its still very difficult buying scrap. Weather is a big issue, and then theres the infusion of a new buyer with Outokumpu (Stainless USA LLCs ramp-up at its Calvert, Ala., facility)."
"Were finding what we need right now. Its tight. ... Eventually itll balance out. We went through a time when production was very light on the mill side, and now its picked up and that scrap needs to get back into the cycle," a second processor source said. "Its going to be tight for a while. And the weather hasnt helped."