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Nickel under renewed pressure, scrap values fall

Global – Stainless steel scrap prices have dropped back from the levels published in Recycling International’€™s mid-March report, with the 304 quality sliding from US$ 1290-1340 per tonne to US$ 1180-1230 and 316 material sliding from US$ 1630-1680 to US$ 1530-1580.

There has also been a fall in chrome scrap prices, with 409 material commanding US$ 300-340 per tonne rather than the US$ 320-360 of mid-March and the 430 quality US$ 400-440 as against the previous US$ 420-460 because of lower charge chrome numbers for the second quarter of 2017.

According to traders, stainless steel mills are being very restrained in their purchases at present. Uncertainty over the outlook for nickel ore exports out of the Philippines and Indonesia has filtered into the markets and pushed down nickel prices over the last two weeks.

The former is considering banning nickel ore exports and incentivising domestic processing along the lines adopted by Indonesia. EU-28 stainless steel scrap trading with third countries slowed in 2016: imports slid 20.7% and exports tumbled 50.7% when compared to the previous year.

Total imports from third countries amounted to 361 000 tonnes in 2016, representing some 14% of the EU’s total reported supply.

The four largest sources outside the EU were Russia, Turkey, Switzerland and Brazil which together contributed 66% of the third country imports.

The full version of Recycling International’s latest Nickel & Stainless report will appear in its 3/2017 issue.

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