Full of Scrap: Ferrous scrap exports still a good long-term bet

May 29, 2012 | 04:42 PM |

Tags  Full of Scrap, US ferrous scrap exports, ferrous scrap

So far this year it has essentially been a tale of two coasts as European and Asian buyers present different challenges.

After a relatively stagnant January, East Coast exporters reported a February bonanza and March and April provided enough demand to keep yards relatively busy. But on the West Coast, a drop in demand from China had exporters scrambling to find other homes for their inventories.

Beyond the issue of demand, exporters—as well as domestic yards that have come to rely on selling to the coasts or shipping out their own containers—face a host of issues, from transportation costs and international currency fluctuations to government regulations and in-house business planning. 

But first some background:

• The United States currently exports about 30 percent of all the ferrous scrap it generates, leading the world in ferrous  (and stainless steel) scrap exports.

• Despite the fall-off in the national economy and the scrap microeconomy, 2011 was a record year for scrap exports by weight, according to the Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries. After exporting a then-record 21.5 million tonnes in the scrap boom year of 2008, sellers followed that up with 22.4 million tonnes in 2009, 20.5 million tonnes in 2010 and a record 24.3 million tonnes last year, U.S. Commerce Department data show.....

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