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Nickel drives stainless scrap price fall

Keywords: Tags  stainless scrap, scrap prices, London Metal Exchange, LME, nickel, Type 304, Type 316, Rey Mashayekhi

NEW YORK — Stainless steel scrap prices dropped slightly this week, mainly due to lower terminal market nickel prices and freer scrap flows amid a summer slowdown in activity, according to market participants.

AMM’s broker/processor stainless scrap buying prices declined July 21 across the nickel-bearing austenitic grades. Type 316 solids now stand at $2,530 to $2,555 per gross ton, down from $2,575 to $2,600 per ton previously; Type 304 solids decreased to $1,835 to $1,880 per ton from $1,905 to $1,925; and Type 304 turnings decreased to $1,635 to $1,680 per ton from $1,700 to $1,745 per ton previously.

The three-month nickel contract closed the London Metal Exchange’s official session at $18,900 per tonne ($8.57 per pound) July 21, down 2.2 percent from $19,325 per tonne ($8.77 per pound) July 14. The contract recovered slightly July 22, closing the official session at $19,000 per tonne ($8.62 per pound).

Dealer and processor sources confirmed the downward shift in stainless scrap prices across the austenitic grades, noting comfortable levels of supply for melters during the industry’s typical slowdown period for the summer months.

"I think the reality that we’d had over the last three to four months where there was a tight market (for material), that’s eased now. That fear that there’s not enough material is gone. There certainly seems like there’s plenty to go around for the current requirements. That’s taken a little pressure off," one processor source told AMM.

"The LME is back a little ... I think processor needs on summer sales have backed off the pricing as much as anything," a second processor source said. "It seems like sales are in a summer slump as usual."

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