Stainless steel scrap prices were mixed in the week ending Sep 22 with most grades declining except ss 304 solids. Prices also declined as the official three-month LME nickel dipped by 3pc on Monday from the prior week to $15,090/mt.
The weekly Davis Index for stainless steel scrap 316 solids dipped by $54/mt and settled at $1,846/mt cfr India port. Prices in Taiwan fell with the Davis Index settling at $1,825/mt cfr Taiwan port, down by $30/mt from the preceding week. The weekly Davis Index for stainless steel scrap 304 (18-8) solids were marginally up by $7/mt to $1,313/mt cfr India port on Tuesday. Demand for 304 is fairly stronger than other grades as it is the most widely used scrap material.
The weekly Davis Index for ss 304 (18-8) solids settled at $1,270/mt cfr Taiwan port down by $30/mt. Prices of stainless steel scrap rose significantly mid-week which resulted in several mills withholding buying and bidding approximately 10pc lower than the current market prices. High raw material prices are squeezing margins of the mills which are already suffering the consequences of COVID-19.
September was a rather slow month in terms of market activities, said traders who import material. Demand from mills in India is subdued as they have stocked up inventories and now wait for market to gradually fall. Demand from far east nations is also projected to slightly fall which will result in global prices dipping as South Korea and Taiwan are major importers of stainless scrap.
The weekly Davis Index for Zurik 85/3 settled at $1,115/mt, down by $5/mt on the back of fewer trades. High copper prices are supporting Zurik prices, resulting in high offers but importers are bidding around $1010-1020/mt. The Davis Index for 430 solids also fell by $22/mt and settled at $451/mt cfr India port on Tuesday from the week prior. Indian mills have reduced demand for the high chrome content series which resulted in our index dipping. Importers are bidding between $400-420/mt, however, few trades settled at $450-460/mt.
Indian stainless steel associations are promoting the benefits of using stainless steel in construction and household items as consumption from end-users remains the key challenge facing the industry. As infra and construction was severely hit by COVID-19 followed by heavy rains in certain regions, stainless steel demand was also hurt. Market participants believe that production and consumption in September quarter will improve but December quarter will be back to the prior year quarter levels.