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Stainless steel scrap looks to maintain uptrend

Steel News - Published on Fri, 20 Jul 2018

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Argus reported that the stainless steel scrap market enters the second half of 2018 supported by positive consumer sentiment and LME nickel price momentum. Scrap prices for stainless 304 have gained 13.7pc this year, lagging increases in LME nickel prices. Processor buying prices ended the first half at 66-67¢/lb, up from 58-59¢/lb since the beginning of the year. Stainless 304 prices are expected to remain around these levels or slightly higher as LME nickel prices remain elevated amid falling LME stocks, according to market participants. LME inventories had fallen by 26pc to 272,616/t at the end of June from 366,612/t at the start of the year.

Nickel, a key component in determining nickel-bearing stainless steel scrap prices, accounts for approximately 60pc of the intrinsic value of most austenitic stainless steel scrap grades. Through the first half of 2018, LME nickel was the best performing base metal, gaining 17.8pc.Most market participants are optimistic that nickel prices on the LME can hold up in the $14,000-$16,000/t range for the balance of 2018, which would help keep nickel-bearing scrap prices such as 304 and 316 stable or rising upward.

Molybdenum-bearing stainless 316 scrap prices for 2018 could also gain momentum. Stainless 316 prices for scrap solids ended the first half at 93-94¢/lb after starting the year at 78-79¢/lb. Raw material prices such as molybdenum oxide (Mo 57pc) increased only 2.3pc through the first half while ferro-molybdenum (65pc) had no change. Molybdenum prices are expected to remain at current levels with little variation for the balance of the year. Material tightness and nickel prices will continue to impact molybdenum-bearing scrap prices in 2018.

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Posted By : Ratan Singh on Fri, 20 Jul 2018
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