U.S. stainless scrap processors’ buying prices fell slightly during May which means metal recycling centers are on alert. Prices are currently sitting at $.62/lb. and many expect to see $.50s/lb. scrap very soon. We are now approaching the lowest stainless scrap levels since June 2009. Demand is still sluggish and volumes remain below normal levels. Aerospace and energy sectors are decent but distribution customers’ business is weak.
“As we approach the traditional summer gloom, things can get real ugly,” one processor told Metalprices.com. Another source said, “At these prices, many dealers are holding onto material in hopes for higher prices in the 3rd or 4th quarter.”
“With demand in Europe still weak and China not a traditional scrap buyer, many are holding onto scrap until margins improve,” another source told Metalprices.com.
Nickel – London Metal Exchange (LME) daily cash nickel finished May at $14,635/MT ($.6383/lb.), down around 2% from May 1st. Nickel inventory continued to rise and hit another all-time high of 179,796/MT, up 2,760/MT from April 30th.
Nickel Premiums – No change from the previous month. Metalprices.com reported melting grade, full truckload quantities at $.20-$.25 per lb. and plating grade premiums were reported at $.45-$.50 per lb. for truckload.
Surcharges slide – Major U.S. stainless mills have drastically lowered surcharges for June; type 304 down 8% and type 316 down 6%. AK Steel Corp. has set its June surcharges for Type 304 at $.6856 and Type 316 at $0.9779; North American Stainless for Type 304 at $.6858 and Type 316 at $0.9766 and ATI Allegheny Ludlum Corporation for Type 304 at $.6851 and Type 316 at $0.9760.
Both chromium and molybdenum were relatively flat in May.
(Intonu – the leading stainless steel metal recycling center in Atlanta as well as the Southeast!!)