Global – Gains in the nickel price have been reflected in stainless steel scrap values: over the course of August, the 304 quality has climbed from US$ 1070-1120 per tonne to US$ 1090-1140 while 316 material has advanced from US$ 1410-1460 to US$ 1450-1500. An improvement in steel scrap prices, meanwhile, has lifted chrome scrap values by some US$ 10 per tonne to US$ 230-270 for the 409 grade and US$ 310-350 for the 430 quality.
Tightening global supply – resulting from mine closures in the Philippines, a recovery in stainless steel demand and reduced stainless steel scrap availability – has changed the mood in the nickel industry. Leading Chinese player Jinchuan commented recently: ‘Nickel’s advance is just the beginning of a long bull run, with current prices still around multi-year lows, making the metal a promising investment.’
Further market support has come in the form of latest statistics from the International Nickel Study Group. For the first half of 2016, the organisation has reported primary nickel consumption of 1 003 600 tons and a production total of 966 600 tons, which equates to a deficit of around 37 000 tons and could foreshadow a shortfall of some 80 000 tons for 2016 as a whole.
*The full version of Recycling International’s latest Nickel & Stainless report will appear in its September issue.