It is being reported that stainless steel scrap prices in the United States are continuing to rise as the London Metal Exchange (LME) nickel prices reach the highest they have been over the 14 months.
As recently as last week, grade 316 stainless has risen from USD 2,260 per ton to USD 2,375 and grade 304 has gone from USD 1,790 per ton to 1,860 per ton. Industry analysts assert the short-term reason is the strong consumer demand for material and higher buying price, however, the major factor is the impact of Indonesia’s ore export ban, which started in January of this year. The Russian material shortage, as a result of political instability between Russia and Ukraine, is also playing a role.
Mills are being cautioned not to lift prices much further despite the market volume and demand being there, as processors will most likely defer buying because margins cannot be met.