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Stagnation for stainless

Global – A calm has settled over the stainless steel scrap market and conditions are expected to remain broadly the same for the remainder of the year. Business has been around normal levels with regard to scrap availability and demand, but profit margins for traders are insufficient to cover their costs.

Once again, prices for some stainless steel scrap grades have come under pressure owing partly to the influence of price declines for associated metals.

When compared to Recycling International’s early-October report, the 304 quality has held its level of US$ 1090-1140 per tonne whereas 316 material has fallen to 1390-1440.

Chrome scrap has also taken a downward path to US$ 210-250 per tonne for the 409 grade and US$ 300-340 for the 430 quality. Compared to the first quarter of 2016, Chinese stainless steel melt shop production surged 25.4% in the April-June period to 6.526 million tonnes, according to International Stainless Steel Forum data.

At the half-way point of the year, therefore, the country’s output amounted to 11.279 million tonnes and exceeded that for the first half of last year by almost 8%. Excluding China, Asian production was 3.4% higher year on year in January-June 2016 at 4.842 million tonnes.bAsia therefore continues to account for a massive proportion of global stainless steel melt shop production.

The world total jumped 15.1% from 10.26 million tonnes in the opening three months of 2016 to 11.807 million tonnes in the second quarter to give a half-year total of 22.067 million tonnes – an increase of 4.1% over the 21.202 million tonnes of January-June 2015. For 2015 as a whole, global stainless steel production totalled 41.55 million tonnes.  

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

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