Stainless scrap prices continue searching for the bottom as market participants struggle to explain this year’s sickly market in light of an otherwise healthy economy. The London Metal Exchange (LME) nickel prices, which foreshadow stainless scrap prices, have struggled as well during 2019. The LME cash nickel contract closed the November 19 session lower by 6.6% from a week earlier, and more than 22% lower from September.
Market participants expect stainless prices to remain in check through the holiday season, with limited material flow and even more limited demand from mills. Most are already looking ahead to 2020 for any opportunities of renewed strength.
Austenitic (300 series) and Ferritic (400 series) stainless scrap prices in the U.S. were lower for the week. Type 316 solids and clips were down 2-3 cents/lb., while Type 304 solids and clips widened by a penny and Type 304 turnings dropped 1-2 cents/lb. Type 430 and Type 409 tags were all flat for the week.