Imported stainless steel scrap prices jumped on Tuesday on high offers but the huge gap between offers and bids resulted in only a few trades. Offers pushed indexes higher by 2-8pc with 304 gaining the most followed by 430.
The weekly Davis Index for 304 (18-8) solids rose by $128/mt to $1,653/mt cfr India port driven by high offers for US and EU origin. Bids for the same grade were heard between $1,625 to $1,650/mt while offers exceeded $1,650/mt cfr India port. The weekly Davis Index for 316 settled at $2,145/mt cfr India port, up by $36/mt. Very few traders were offering 316 on Tuesday in a silent market.
Most mills in India are bidding low but it was termed ‘unreasonable’ by the sellers in the markets. Sellers are unwilling to sell at these prices as it would cause them significant losses due to the decline in nickel prices and are waiting for nickel prices to climb, which would drive scrap prices up too. Some mills in India are waiting for this volatile period to be over and will procure material once the market has stabilized. Mills are likely to enter the market from April.
The official three-month LME nickel contract on Monday settled at $16,473/mt, up by $242/mt or 1pc in a week. In a month, the LME contract has nosedived 16pc or by $3,251/mt to current levels.
The weekly Davis Index for 430 on Tuesday settled at $593/mt cfr India port, up by $23/mt. A few deals were heard at $650/mt while mills are strongly bidding under $550/mt. Demand is stable but negotiations between sellers and buyers have not settled in a precarious market.
The weekly Davis Index for Zurik 85/3 settled at $1,324/mt cfr India port, up by $20/mt from the previous week. Ferrous scrap prices have fallen by approximately $5-10/mt in a week, which may weigh on Zurik 85/3 and 430 prices. Zurik prices could also be pressured as copper prices have declined by 1pc or by $50 on the LME. However, demand from India for Zurik and stainless steel scrap is firm.
Scrap prices in Taiwan have fallen weekly driven by lower bids in a quiet market. The weekly Davis Index for 304 (18-8) solids for Taiwan settled at 1,425/mt cfr Taiwan port, down by $30/mt in a silent market with only major mills placing bids. The weekly index for 316 settled lower by $35/mt to $2,090/mt cfr Taiwan port. Price volatility is taking a toll on stainless steel trades in both India and Taiwan.