Stainless steel (SS) scrap prices on Tuesday slumped 6-7pc in a week driven by the fall in LME nickel contract. The official three-month LME nickel contract on Monday settled at $16,145/mt, down $2,530/mt from prior Monday. This lead to a chaotic situation globally for scrap trades. In India, most mills were quiet on Tuesday and decided to wait and see where the markets are headed. Price direction, on Tuesday, was unclear with varying offers.
The 300 series scrap prices fell more in line with the LME drop while 400 series were less affected by the drop in nickel prices given the different compositions. The Davis Index for 304 (18-8) solids on Tuesday settled at $1,530/mt cfr India port, down $128/mt on reduced offers. Some deals were heard at $1,480-1,500/mt cfr India port.
Very few deals were heard on Tuesday in the absence of clear price direction as the market awaits stability. The weekly Davis Index for 316 solids settled at $2,117/mt cfr India port, down by $170/mt. Prices for 316 fell more, compared to 304, as nickel content is higher in it (10-14pc while 304 contains up to 8pc). Some offers for 316 were heard around $2,100/mt cfr India port on the lower side.
The weekly Davis Index for Zurik 85/3 settled at $1,308/mt cfr India port down by $92/mt on Tuesday, driven by low offers. The lowest price for the grade on Tuesday was heard at $1,200/mt. However, offers ranged as high as $1,350-1,380/mt cfr India port. Zurik prices received support from ferrous scrap price rise. Ferrous scrap prices have improved fairly from the previous week.
The weekly Davis Index for 430 solids dropped by $42/mt to $558/mt cfr India port. Some offers were heard between $540-550/mt cfr India port on the lower end while offers went over $600/mt. Mills were heard bidding around $520-530/mt on Tuesday.
Domestic prices of stainless steel in India have also slipped and traders, who have material stuck at ports, are more likely to hoard than sell at these levels. Several traders in India were stressed about their next move in this volatile market, unable to make sense of the sharp nickel fall. Outlook for nickel, however, remains positive according to industry experts. Price direction would be clearer in the coming days.
The Davis Index for Taiwan on Tuesday for 304 (18-8) settled at $1,465/mt cfr Taiwan port, down by $45/mt from last Tuesday’s levels. The weekly index for 316 solids for Taiwan fell by $54/mt to $2,136/mt cfr Taiwan port. Offers for 304 were heard around $1,580/mt cfr Taiwan port but deals took place under $1,500/mt, according to market participants.