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Turbulent start to 2017

Global – Stainless steel scrap prices have kicked off the new year on an upswing, with the 304 grade leaping from US$ 1140-1190 per tonne at the time of our late-November report to US$ 1240-1290 while the 316 quality has soared from US$ 1470-1520 to US$ 1560-1610.

Following on from the upbeat end to last year, 2017 began with some turbulence. Steel scrap prices climbed by between US$ 25 and US$ 30 per tonne and there was also an escalation in ferrochrome values. The European charge chrome benchmark has been settled at US$ 1.65 per lb for the first quarter – an astonishing 50%-plus above the preceding quarter and the highest level since the peak of US$ 2.05 recorded for the third quarter of 2008.

As a consequence, stainless steel scrap prices surged to US$ 1240-1290 per tonne for the 304 quality and to US$ 1560-1610 for 316 material. Chrome scrap prices followed the increases in steel scrap and charge chrome to be quoted at US$ 320-360 per tonne for the 409 grade and US$ 420-460 for the 430 quality.

An increase in surcharges and base prices buoyed US stainless steel values in early January. Scrap prices have edged higher in response to improved demand, tight supply and perennial concerns over the winter weather’s potential to impact volumes.

Compared to the same period in 2015, US nickel scrap exports climbed some 7% to approaching 29 200 short tons in the opening 11 months of 2016, according to the Commerce Department.

The full "Market Analysis: Nickel & Stainless" will be featured in the upcoming issue (#1) of Recycling International. 

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