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Scrap export prices fall as Taiwan buyers wait

Keywords: Tags  container scrap, shredded scrap, heavy melt, West Coast exportx, Sean Davidson

NEW YORK — Ferrous scrap export prices on the West Coast are under pressure this week after several market participants reported a softening in offshore sales to some regions.

Most sources said containerized scrap prices for an 80/20 mix of No. 1 and No. 2 heavy melt to Taiwan dropped this week due to limited participation from buyers. HMS 1&2 (80:20) sales were reported in a range of $365 to $368 per tonne c.f.r. Taiwan, down from sales concluded at between $370 and $380 per tonne—mainly at the low end—over the past two weeks.

"Containers have backed off $5 to $7 this week, with some consumers out of the market in a wait-and-see mode," said one exporter, who is considering dropping buying prices at his yards. "In response to that decrease, we will be dropping all of our port buying prices by $10 per gross ton effective Thursday and Friday."

A second source suggested further weakness is imminent. "I am hearing just this morning that (HMS 1&2) 80/20 delivered to Taiwan is down from $380 to $368 per tonne. I feel that the market will continue to head down," he said Thursday. "I would not be surprised if it is a $350 market by next week."

A third source who reported a similar price range said weak demand for finished products could result in further price weakness.

However, a healthy Indonesian market could offer some support to exporters able to ship shred, a fourth source said. "Container sales to Taiwan seem to be sliding. Right now, heavy melt sales into Taiwan are around $365 per tonne. Container sales for shred into Indonesia, however, have been strong at $405 to $410 per tonne," he said.

Sources said sustained weakness in containerized export tags also could put some pressure on bulk cargo sales.

The most recent confirmed bulk sale out of the West Coast was concluded about 10 days ago at $402 and $407 per tonne c.f.r. Taiwan for HMS 1&2 (80:20) and shred, respectively.

Bids from China and South Korea for bulk scrap are between $388 and $390 per tonne for heavy melt, sources said, but exporters refused to accept those price levels.

Only one source who spoke to AMM said seller offers for container scrap to Taiwan jumped higher this week, to $385 per tonne for heavy melt. "However, (there have been) no buyers yet," he said.

A buyer for a Taiwanese mill said this week’s weak market would be short lived because mills in Taiwan are short on scrap. Scrapyards in Taiwan paid above $365 per tonne in anticipation of a rising market, he said, and this week’s weakness is likely because scrapyards stopped bidding on scrap.

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