By Paul Ploumis
November 01, 2016 05:14:14 AM
SEATTLE (Scrap Monster): The prices of some stainless steel scrap grades declined on account of decline in respective metal prices. However, market participants expect the scrap market to remain stagnant during the remaining months of 2016. The stainless steel scrap supply and demand situations are unlikely to witness major change during this period.
The fall in metal prices have led to decline in prices of most stainless steel scrap grades. The price for 304-grade stainless steel scrap remained flat at US$ 1090-1140 per tonne. On the other hand, the 316-grade scrap prices declined to US$ 1390-1440 per tonne. Within Chrome scrap, the 409-grade prices slumped to US$ 210-250 per tonne, whereas the 430-grade prices dropped to US$ 300-340.
Recently, the Bureau of International Recycling (BIR) had predicted tough market conditions for stainless steel scrap during last quarter of the current year. In its forecast, BIR Stainless Steel and Special Alloys Committee had noted that scrap market volumes and margins are likely to come under pressure, mainly on account of declining nickel prices. The demand for 304, 316 and 410 grades continue to remain weak. On the other hand, chrome scrap grades have reported better demand.
The stainless steel scrap availability has remained strong during recent months, mainly due to surge in commodity prices. The new mining policy introduced by the Philippines administration and the series of mine closures in that country had led to decent run in nickel prices over the past several months. The prices have been ranging from US$ 9,650 to US$ 10,800 per tonne during the past several months. However, nickel prices have declined from its recent peaks. Also, the declining price trend is likely to continue during the last quarter of 2016, thereby leading to drop in scrap volumes and decline in margins for stainless steel scrap recyclers.
According to BIR, the stainless steel scrap demand is expected to remain strong in many European region countries, especially in countries such as Italy. Sources indicate that the country has reported sharp rise in bulk orders for 316-grade scrap material. The other country to report healthy demand for various grades of stainless steel scrap was India, though the demand has started to show signs of weakness. Elsewhere, US markets have reported tight availability of certain scrap grades such as clean, segregated 18/8 stainless steel scrap. The Russian exports of various stainless steel scrap grades have reported huge decline, on account of hike in export duties.
Meantime, recent statistics published by the International Stainless Steel Forum (ISSF), the global stainless steel production increased 4.10% during the initial six months of 2016, in comparison with the corresponding half yearly period in 2015. The stainless steel melt shop production during the second quarter of the year surged higher by 15% when matched with Q1 2016.
The total stainless steel output during the six months of 2016 amounted to 22.067 million metric tons, higher by 4.1% when compared with the output of 21.202 million mt during Jan-June ‘16. When compared with the production during the quarter before, the stainless steel output during Q2 2016 has grown by almost 15.1%. The global stainless steel output during Q1 2016 had totaled only 10.260 million mt as compared with 11.807 million mt during Q2 this year.