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Stainless steel scrap pricing trends sideways

Keywords: Tags  stainless steel, scrap, London Metal Exchange, LME, nickel, dealer, processor, Type 304 Type 316

NEW YORK — Stainless steel scrap prices were relatively stable this week due in part to steady London Metal Exchange nickel prices, with market participants noting comfortable supply-side dynamics amid a summer slowdown in activity.

AMM’s assessment of broker/processor buying prices shifted slightly July 14 across nickel-bearing austenitic grades, with Type 316 solids tightening to a range of $2,575 to $2,600 per gross ton from $2,555 to $2,600 previously. Type 304 solids rose to $1,905 to $1,925 per ton from $1,880 to $1,925, and the range for Type 304 turnings widened to $1,700 to $1,745 per ton from $1,700 to $1,725.

The LME’s three-month nickel contract settled virtually sideways from last week, closing the official session July 14 at $19,325 per tonne ($8.77 per pound) vs. $19,300 per tonne ($8.75 per pound) July 7. The contract closed marginally higher July 15 at $19,330 per tonne.

Dealer and processor sources confirmed the slight shift in prices across austenitic grades of scrap, with none of the volatility seen over the course of the year as the industry goes through its typical summer doldrums.

"Nothing much happening of note this week," one processor source said. "Demand is OK, if a little soft as we look towards August, but better than in the previous couple of years."

"For the last week or so, we’ve allowed ourselves to go with the flow, and it’s been pretty flat," a second processor source said, adding that he has seen some July business "pushed to August on account of maintenance issues."

"We’re in a summer mode," a third processor source said. "We never get used to it, it’s always upon us and I think we’re fairly well entrenched in a conservative market. ... I think the mills that needed material have been able to buy it. Taking their inventories into account, their time off, I think there’s less pressure on the supply side."

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