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"Now that [ThyssenKrupp Stainless] is in the mix, that makes things a lot better," a source at one processor said.
A second processor source agreed, noting that the impact would likely be felt in the surrounding area of the facility. "Maybe the price of scrap is going to go up in a 300-mile radius of that plant," he said.
Market sources said previously that the meltshop, which has an annual capacity of 900,000 tonnes of stainless steel, could significantly tighten the domestic scrap market and decrease exports of the material from the USA.
A third processor source cautioned that rather than increase overall consumption, the start-up might lead to a shift of market share between domestic producers. "My opinion is that more business will drift away from [other domestic producers to ThyssenKrupp Stainless]," he said.
ThyssenKrupp Stainless, which has not disclosed a 2013 production target for the meltshop, is now part of Finnish stainless producer Outokumpu Oyj following the completion of the merger between Outokumpu and the Inoxum Group.
Some stainless scrap grades saw a slight uptick recently, although market participants said volumes have been thin due to the end-of-year holiday.
Prices for 316 clips and solids are between $2,375 and $2,420 per gross ton, up from $2,310 to $2,350 previously, while 304 clips and solids are steady between $1,680 and $1,750 per gross ton, although offers were as high as $1,770 on Monday December 31.
Nickel prices on the London Metal Exchange received a boost from news that the US Congress had avoided going over the fiscal cliff, with the cash contract improving to $17,425 per tonne ($7.90 per pound) in official trading on Wednesday January 2, up 2% from $17,085 per tonne ($7.75 per pound) on Monday.
US stainless scrap market participants are optimistic that the recent start-up of the meltshop at the ThyssenKrupp Stainless facility in Calvert, Alabama, will buoy the domestic market in 2013.