As exports go, so goes domestic ferrous scrap—usually

Jun 26, 2013 | 07:00 PM |

Tags  Full of Scrap, ferrous scrap exports, China, U.S. ferrous scrap, AMM Staff

The past 18 months or so have shown just how important exports are to the health of the U.S. ferrous scrap industry.

Export volumes last year fell to a two-year low and have been somewhat sluggish so far in 2013, while prices have dropped about 28 percent since January 2012 through May of this year. So what’s to be expected for the rest of this year? The question is directly related to the fate of domestic scrap prices.

Increases in domestic scrap values have mirrored the rise in the average price of exported scrap over the past decade or so. Talk to just about anybody in the ferrous scrap business in North America and you’ll hear pretty much the same refrain: The strength of the market going into summer is going to depend pretty much on exports.

The most recent export numbers hold both good news and bad news for scrap buyers, brokers and dealers.

The good news is that March 2013 was the strongest month since last August, with 1.96 million tonnes of ferrous scrap shipped offshore, putting the year-to-date total virtually even with the first three months of last year, according to the latest data from the U.S. Commerce Department.....

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