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Market in balance as year-end approaches

Global – In response to LME nickel quotations of US$ 12 000-plus per tonne, stainless steel scrap prices have been on a rising trend. The 304 quality is currently attracting US$ 1340-1390 per tonne as against US$ 1300-1350 at the time of Recycling International’€™s previous report in September. Over the same period, the 316 grade has advanced from US$ 1660-1710 per tonne to US$ 1740-1790.

Market participants are reporting a current balance between supply and demand but are expecting lower offers for the remainder of the year. The combination of low interest rates and satisfactory financial results is enabling traders to keep higher stocks in the latter part of the year.

Despite the fact that steel scrap prices have fallen from their recent highs, chrome scrap values have slightly improved on the levels noted in our previous report: 409 is now commanding US$ 340-380 per tonne and the 430 grade is fetching US$ 430-470 on expectations of higher ferro-chrome prices in the first quarter of 2018.

According to the International Nickel Study Group, world primary production of the metal is projected to increase to 2.052 million tonnes this year from 1.991 million tonnes in 2016, with further growth to 2.206 million tonnes forecast for 2018.

Having amounted to 2.017 million tonnes last year, world primary nickel usage is expected to increase to 2.15 million tonnes in 2017 and then to 2.259 million tonnes in 2018, thus implying three successive years of global nickel deficit. 

The full version of Recycling International’s latest Nickel & Stainless report will appear in its November/December 2017 issue.



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