|US stainless steel scrap prices were mostly steady this week, although the market remains pressured with nickel alloy buying prices weakening following a decline in the London Metal Exchange's December monthly average cash nickel contract.
"Nickel can't find any momentum, the iron market is down for January, the chrome market is softer and there is ample supply to keep up with decreasing demand," one US dealer source said. "This is the perfect recipe for a depressed stainless steel scrap market."
Fastmarkets AMM's assessment of broker/processor buying prices in Pittsburgh show Type 316 stainless scrap solids firm at 60-65 cents per lb ($1,344-1,456 per gross ton) on Wednesday January 9. Type 304 stainless scrap solids moved into a wider range of 40-43 cents per lb compared with 41-42 cents per lb previously and Type 304 stainless scrap turnings widened upward by a penny to 34-38 cents per lb.
Prices for the ferritic grades in Pittsburgh remained firm, with Fastmarkets AMM's assessment of Type 430 solids at 14-16 cents per lb on Wednesday and Type 430 turnings at 10-11 cents per lb. Likewise, Type 409 solids remained at 12-14 cents per lb, and Type 409 turnings also stayed put at 8-9 cents per lb.
"We are very tentative on this market. Worsening nickel discounts every month coupled with strong export numbers are squeezing margins and making it difficult to buy," one major US processor source said.