Ferrous scrap flow, price bottom sink

Nov 03, 2008 | 10:20 AM | Michael Marley

Scrap dealers in several regions of the country said Monday that the bottom has collapsed in the domestic ferrous scrap market and they have no idea whether they will be able to sell even a pound of iron and steel scrap to steelmakers this month.

Ferrous prices have plunged from the historic highs of $900 per long ton, seen at mid-year, and are now at $150 per ton or lower for industrial steel scrap like No. 1 bundles and No. 1 busheling. In many regions, mills and some brokers are offering product at less than $100 per ton for obsolete grades like No. 1 heavy melting steel, and prices could go even lower.

That will further reduce the scrap flow from demolition contractors and other small dealers and peddlers as the industry heads into the winter, one Philadelphia-based trader said.

Feedstock from auto wreckers and junkyards has already slowed to a trickle in many regions. One Midwest shredder operator said the flow into his yard has already plunged as much as 50 percent in the past month and will probably evaporate if he cuts the scale-buying price again.....

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