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Bleak fourth quarter prospects for stainless scrap

global – Stainless steel scrap traders had been full of positive expectations for the fourth quarter of 2015 but their hopes were dashed by latest news from the stainless steel market.

Although demand from the mills appears to be satisfactory, scrap availability is at a very low level and depressed prices do not provide scope for market players to make any profit. And there seems to be little chance of an upturn in raw material pricing during what remains of this year.

Nickel has been dwelling below the US$ 10 000 per tonne benchmark owing to continued weak sentiment amid a quiet physical market and uncertainties over the global economic outlook. However, the nickel price still appears set to bounce back in 2016 from the multi-year lows posted this year.

Assuming the Chinese economy does not suffer a hard landing, stronger stainless steel production – albeit a far cry from earlier double-digit growth rates – is expected to boost nickel demand sufficiently to produce a global market deficit possibly in the range of 20 000 to 40 000 tonnes for next year.

The full version of Recycling International’s latest nickel and stainless steel market analysis will appear in its October 2015 issue.

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